Tag: First Niagara Center

Terry Pegula

Report: Bills sale to Sabres owner expected to be approved this week

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According to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, the Buffalo Bills sale to Sabres’ owner Terry Pegula is expected to be rubber stamped this week.

Florio’s sources indicate that the purchase of the franchise is on the agenda for this week’s NFL ownership meetings in New York.

The Buffalo News reporter Tim Graham told Florio on his podcast PFT Live that it’s expected Terry Pegula’s wife, Kim Pegula, will be in charge of the football operations.

Pegula purchased the holding company, which owns the Sabres and the First Niagara Center in February 2011.

Oops: Sabres team store accidentally unveils new Senators and Maple Leaf third jerseys

Ottawa third jersey

When a team creates a new third jersey and they’re doing their part to keep it under wraps as a state secret, letting any sort of leaks happen can be a major headache for the marketing people. Just think back to how things broke down for the Winnipeg Jets when their logo was leaked on the Internet. The Jets PR staff moved quickly to have a press conference to officially release what the logo looked like themselves before the leaked logo got around any faster.

Imagine the horror that went through the marketing offices of the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs when photos from the Buffalo Sabres team store at First Niagara Center that appeared on hockey jersey and logo super site Icethetics showed that they already had the Senators and Maple Leafs new third jerseys, which haven’t been shown off yet, out on the racks for sale.


Both the Senators and Leafs had the option of either denying that’s what they’d look like and then curse out whoever was responsible for shipping them out or they could bite the bullet and say that the cat’s out of the bag and that’s what they’ll look like.

The Senators, who have been hinting around as to what they’ll be doing for some time now, decided to bite the bullet and fess up.

“While we are very disappointed to have our new jersey revealed in this manner, we are pleased to see the early comments from fans are extremely positive,” said Jeff Kyle, Senators vice-president of marketing. “We believe that this jersey will be a top seller in the National Hockey League this season, especially as fans learn the story behind how it was designed.

The heritage jersey pays tribute to the early Senators teams that won 11 Stanley Cups and was one the franchises that founded the NHL in 1917. The early Senators were considered the NHL’s first dynasty, with accomplishments so great that in 1950, sportswriters voted the Ottawa club as the team of the first half century in Canada.

Paying homage to the original Senators franchise that was in Ottawa is a nice touch and the barber pole striping going on with the sweater isn’t nearly as egregious as what the Montreal Canadiens did with their 100th anniversary heritage sweater two years ago.

While the Leafs haven’t said anything one way or another, Pension Plan Puppets are embracing the new sweater and the tribute that it pays to the 1967 Maple Leafs team, the last Leafs team to win the Stanley cup. This new third sweater also replace the white one they’ve used the last few seasons that had a blue shoulder yoke and the old-time style maple leaf crest. All that aside, PPP makes the point that how the team does has more of an effect on how popular the new duds are.

The success of the jersey will be tied directly to how well the team does while wearing them. While the jersey will obviously sell well (what TML related gear doesn’t?) it’s ultimate success will depend on the more memories that the team produces while wearing them.

Good point for sure. As for how they look, the old time style is always worthy of approval and the bold blue color of the Leafs sweater with a logo like what they had in their Stanley Cup season is a winner. While the Leafs and Senators both hate each other, they’ll be a couple of the nicer looking teams when sporting these sweaters.

(Photo courtesy: Icethetics.info)

Naming rights: Sabres will play in “First Niagara Center” next season

Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres - Game Three
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The Buffalo Sabres are getting a new home. Well, sort of. More precisely, there’s a new name for their current home. Starting in the 2011-12 season, the HSBC Arena in Buffalo will now be called the First Niagara Center.

The name change gives the building its third name in 15 years. The building was called Marine Midland Arena when it originally opened in 1996. Three years later, the name changed to HSBC Arena in 1999—Marine Midland Bank was a subsidiary of HSBC. Today, the building gets yet another moniker.

From the Sabres official site:

“In connection with First Niagara Bank, N.A.’s acquisition of Upstate New York and Connecticut branches from HSBC Bank USA, N.A., the Buffalo-headquartered regional bank agreed to purchase the naming rights to HSBC Arena, the 18,690-seat home of the hockey club and Western New York’s premier sports and entertainment facility.

First Niagara will be the official bank of the Buffalo Sabres, deepening the company’s connections with its customers in the region as it strengthens its Upstate New York leadership through its previously announced HSBC-branch acquisition. First Niagara’s 15-year agreement with the Sabres also includes exclusive exterior facility naming rights, category exclusivity in the facility’s bowl, other interior and exterior signage and branding, exclusive on-site ATM presence, television and other value-added promotional benefits. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.”

The Sabres say that the naming rights sale wasn’t only about money. As has been his reputation since taking over the Sabres, the new owner wanted to make sure the new business partners were good people. He wanted to make sure this was a good deal for Buffalo, as well as the Sabres. Sabres President Ted Black spoke to WGR 550 in Buffalo about his conversation with Pegula:

“When I talked to Terry about this deal, his first question really wasn’t about money or sponsorship, it was ‘Terry, what kind of people are they?’ And I was certainly happy to let Terry know that John Koelmel and Dan Contera, the two folks I’ve been dealing with, and their teams are very much Buffalo people, very much like the Pegulas. As Terry would say, they’re our kind of people.”

Of course, it’s a little bit about money. The sale gives the team yet another infusion of money that it didn’t have 8 months ago. With Pegula’s billions and the millions acquired in the naming rights sale, the Sabres are quickly becoming one of the richer teams in the league. Gone are the days when the Sabres would watch talented players walk because they simply couldn’t afford to keep talent in Buffalo. Now, they have the deep pockets to compete with any market in the league.

The people over at First Niagara considered using “Auditorium” in the name in a nod to The Aud that housed the Sabres from 1970-1996. Unfortunately, the powers that be thought “First Niagara Center” rolled off the tongue better.

Yep, the Sabres’ F’N Center certainly rolls off the tongue a little better.