Why would the Sabres buy the Amerks?
One word: Control.
There are a lot of other variables as to why the Amerks make sense as opposed to buying Wilkes-Barre, Syracuse, Portland, etc.. But if the Amerks weren’t for sale, let’s be honest, Pegula and company probably would have called on those aforementioned cities about owning the AHL affiliate.
The singular, most evident trait in this ownership group (I’m linking Black into the group) is their attention to detail. From new carpet in the locker room to taking thousands of fan suggestions to making the arena “slug-free” to a countdown clock during intermissions, all the way to a massively planned renovation this offseason of the team facilities.
Every time I hear Ted Black talk, I am blown away by his sincerity and his focus on improving EVERY aspect of the Sabres organization. This leads me to the purchase of the Amerks. Why wouldn’t they be focused on improving everything about their feeder program? It doesn’t matter that it is in Rochester — that’s an extremely fortunate bonus to the mix — this is about the organization having full control and disclosure over every aspect of their hockey operations.
One of the other key aspects to this is that it will present someone like Ted Black a huge opportunity to capitalize on the Rochester market. I believe this is first and foremost a hockey decision; however the ability to develop and implement a full marketing campaign for a good sized city 1 hour away can’t be overlooked. It’s easy to look at Pegula as the billionaire owner, who has all the PERSONAL financial resources to make the Sabres a contender and that he isn’t in this to dwell on the bottom line. I get all that, but he would also be silly not to look at ways to minimize his own personal contributions to the organization.
I know a lot of people from Rochester and by most accounts they are all Buffalo sports people. They love the Sabres and Bills and go to games throughout the year, buy merchandise and are good soldiers. I think most people in Western New York are Sabres fans as opposed to hockey fans and having the Sabres affiliate in Rochester will help feed that passion for the Sabres. More people will go to Amerks games because of it. I will personally go to Syracuse games against the Amerks because of that affiliation. This whole move is extremely calculated and has to be considered another win for Black and Pegula.
I have a hard time believing that if this purchase goes through that it won’t be under the Sabres close management. What will be interesting to see is how (if at all) they blend the two organizations and bring back having the Sabres play a game in Rochester and/or appearances in the Rochester market. One thing is clear is that this ownership definitely does have a clear plan of where they want to go and are taking steps they think will help get them there. It’s all well and good, but I’m still looking forward more to July 1 than whenever the Amerks show up to play the Crunch.