The owners of the Buffalo Sabres have commissioned a study that will include an evaluation of potential KeyBank Center renovations, with CAA ICON tabbed for the report.
The Sabres are owned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE), an entity backed by Terry and Kim Pegula that owns several other teams, including the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. PSE has chosen the Denver-based CAA ICON to conduct a study that will consider future options for the Bills–who currently play at the aging New Era Field in suburban Orchard Park–as well as possible upgrades to downtown Buffalo’s KeyBank Center.
There have been recent signs that PSE was mulling upgrades to address the aging amenities at KeyBank Center, and the report could provide some insight into potential renovations. As it stands, there are several areas of KeyBank Center that could be addressed down the road, including crucial aspects of the fan experience. More from the Buffalo News:
“This place has got a lot of things related to the base infrastructure that need some help,” [Pegula Sports & Entertainment’s chief operating officer Bruce] Popko said. “There’s a laundry list of things that we could go through. We’re ready for the next phase of development.”
He cited the quality of the seats and technology in the building, as well as the need for new digital screens. Additionally, he said, “from where I stand, certainly, we’ve witnessed that some of the audio in the building is not up to snuff.”
Also, Popko said modern arenas have enclosed spaces where the teams can offer specialized programming to “enhance the fan experience,” but “I think that’s something that we are lacking.”
And while the plaza area is a great feature, “we are in a cold-weather market, and sometimes that doesn’t serve our purposes as much as it should.”
KeyBank Center opened in 1996, and although it has received some TLC over the years, it has not been given the major upgrades that have taken place at similarly aged facilities. Among the NHL venues that opened around the same time period that have significant received upgrades include Tampa Bay’s Amalie Arena (1996), St. Louis’s Enterprise Center (1994), Boston’s TD Garden (1995), Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena (1996), and Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center (1996). The Sabres’ lease for KeyBank Center expires in 2025.
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