Terry Pegula, the owner of the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bills, has dissolved Pegula Sports and Entertainment (PSE) and named himself president of the Sabres. The announcement took place on Monday, August 28, 2023, shocking the sports and entertainment industry.
In April 2020, the Buffalo Sabres owner, who is worth $6.8 billion according to Forbes, faced claims of fostering a “toxic workplace atmosphere” within the PSE. Since Terry Pegula’s purchase of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres in 2011, PSE has served as the parent company for the Pegula family’s many holdings in sports, media, and hospitality.
The decision to dissolve PSE follows a series of complications happening within PSE. In one internal meeting held in January, during which Kim Pegula wife of Terry Pegula, discussed the need for cost-cutting measures and financial belt-tightening. The tone of these meetings reportedly left employees disheartened, especially given the then success of the Buffalo Bills reaching the NFL playoffs.
The accusations of a toxic workplace atmosphere within PSE had been brewing for some time. Former employees had voiced concerns about overwork resulting from continuous downsizing, poor communication, and a lack of clarity regarding organizational goals.
The atmosphere was described as toxic and employees felt that the Pegulas’ attention was stretched thin across various ventures, impacting the core mission of winning games.
The Terry Pegulas’ diversification into various businesses had initially garnered praise. However, employees claimed that the focus on side projects had detracted from the attention given to the sports franchises.
The firing of some of the executives and the challenges faced by Terry Pegula
The firing of key executives, coupled with rumours of potential terminations, had already fueled anxiety among staff members. Additionally, worries were raised about the available resources to sustain operations within PSE’s properties, including the Buffalo Sabres.
Even before the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, PSE’s various properties, including the Buffalo Sabres, had reportedly been grappling with financial difficulties. The pandemic further exacerbated internal unrest, leading to layoffs, furloughs, and reductions in executive salaries. Some of these measures were deemed necessary for the survival of the organization, as acknowledged by the Pegulas.
Terry Pegula’s decision to dissolve PSE and name himself president of the Sabres marks a significant shift in the Pegula family’s involvement in their various ventures. The move must’ve been linked to the previous allegations of a toxic work environment and the need to address the challenges faced by their holdings.