It's official and it's not likely you'll see the Buffalo Bills leaving upstate New York for anything other than a home game in the foreseeable future.
The estate of late team owner Ralph Wilson reached an agreement to sell the team to the Pegula family Tuesday afternoon reportedly for $1.1 billion.
Terry Pegula is the owner of the NHL Buffalo Sabres.
There had been much discussion and hand wringing among the Bills faithful that the team, which had been playing a game or two a year in Toronto, would be sold to a group that would move them permanently to Canada.
That won't happen now.
Pegula and his wife Kim released a statement through the team Tuesday afternoon saying in part:
“Kim and I are humbled and honored that the Wilson family has chosen us to be the second owner of the Buffalo Bills. Pending the NFL approval process, being the next owner of the Buffalo Bills would be a great privilege for our family. Ralph Wilson left an indelible mark on our community and we will strive every day to honor his legacy.
Our interest in owning the Bills has everything to do with the people of Western New York and our passion for football. We have knowledgeable, dedicated fans here and along with our ownership of the Buffalo Sabres, it is gratifying to reassure these great fans that two franchises so important to our region are both here to stay."
The couple added they wouldn't comment further until the sale, which is expected to go through, is approved by the NFL at their next meeting Oct. 8th.
The Bills also released a full statement:
"Subject to the approval of the NFL owners and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, the definitive agreement calls for the Pegula family to acquire all of the interest in the Buffalo Bills franchise from the Wilson trust. The parties intend to submit the agreement for approval by the NFL owners at their meeting in New York City on October 8.
Buffalo Bills Controlling Owner Mary Wilson said, “This is a very important day in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise. Ralph brought professional football to Buffalo in 1959 and it was his life’s passion. He loved his team and he cherished the fans and his legacy will remain for all-time. Ralph would have been pleased with the sale of the team to the Terry Pegula family, who has been so committed to Buffalo and the Western New York region.”
“I sincerely wish Terry and Kim Pegula all the best with the Buffalo Bills and I’m happy for all Bills fans. Our hope is that this great franchise brings them as much excitement and joy as it did for Ralph and that they bring home a Super Bowl championship for Bills fans everywhere. Go Bills!”
And there ya have it--
WGRZ-TV in Buffalo brings the early TV story: