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Pegula Sports and Entertainment Could Assume Interim Blue Cross Arena Management

Rochester Americans

Pegula Sports and Entertainment, owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and AHL’s Rochester Americans, could assume interim management of Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial

Rochester, NY officials recently announced that they were terminating SMG‘s agreement to manage Blue Cross Arena. SMG had managed the venue since 2000 and was slated to do so through December 2019 as part of its latest three-year contract, but Rochester revealed in late June that it would bring an early end to the agreement.

Discussions between Rochester and Pegula Sports and Entertainment are currently centered around an interim management agreement. Negotiations are still unfolding, but it is possible that the interim management will begin in August and run through the end of 2018, a time period Rochester would use to find a permanent arena manager.  More from the Democrat and Chronicle:

“It is draft stage only,” said city Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin. “And the Pegulas have not responded.”

An announcement on the future management of Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial is expected as soon as Friday, according to the city.

Curtin said he emailed the proposal to Pegula Sports and Entertainment on Wednesday evening. While an “active negotiation,” he said, officials have “agreed on a broad-brush concept” and are moving quickly to solidify terms. The interim period would run five months, from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, giving the city time to negotiate a permanent replacement for SMG.

The management shakeup took SMG officials by surprise when the city informed them of their decision two weeks ago. But city and PSE officials have been in discussions “for at least six months,” said Bruce Popko, chief operating officer for Pegula Sports, “just working on common goals and what we wanted to be a part of.”

Financial issues were at the root of the split between Rochester and SMG, though the two sides have offered different accounts on what caused those problems. Rochester officials claimed that SMG failed to meet certain revenue goals, forcing costly subsidies from the city. SMG, meanwhile, countered that the city was not meeting its operating expense requirements, though it is not fighting the termination.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment is backed by Terry and Kim Pegula. In addition to the Americans, who play home games at Blue Cross Arena, the company’s portfolio of teams includes the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

RELATED STORIES: Rochester Ends SMG’s Blue Cross Arena Contract

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