Terry Pegula is an American businessman and entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, a sports and entertainment management company that owns and operates various professional sports teams and venues. He is also the founder and former CEO of East Resources, a natural gas drilling company. He made a fortune in oil and gas and has since turned it into a sports empire that includes the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres.
Pegula was born on March 27, 1951, in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. He attended Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering in 1973. After graduation, he worked as an engineer for several companies in the energy industry, eventually starting his own natural gas drilling company, East Resources, in 1983.
Pegula, whose father was employed in truck driving and coal mining, attended Scranton Preparatory School for high school. Afterward, he pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State University and started working in Allegany, New York in 1985.
Presently, Pegula resides in Boca Raton, Florida, with his second spouse, Kim Pegula (formerly Kerr), who grew up in Fairport, New York, and is an alumna of Houghton College. Kim, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, was adopted in 1974 by Ralph and Marilyn Kerr when she was five years old.
He has five children, two from a previous marriage (Michael and Laura) and three with Kim (Jessica, Kelly, and Matthew). Jessica Pegula, his daughter, is ranked in the top 10 among women’s tennis players on the Pro Circuit of the Women’s Tennis Association. Pegula owns a large yacht, named Top Five.
Over the years, Pegula grew East Resources into one of the largest privately held natural gas drilling companies in the United States, with operations in Pennsylvania, New York, and other states. In 2010, he sold the company to Royal Dutch Shell for $4.7 billion.
After selling East Resources, Pegula turned his attention to sports and entertainment. He founded Pegula Sports and Entertainment in 2014, which owns and operates several professional sports teams, including the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL). The company also owns and operates various sports and entertainment venues, including KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.
In 2011, Pegula acquired Hockey Western New York LLC, the company that owned the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League, for $189 million from previous owners Tom Golisano, Larry Quinn, and Dan DiPofi. This purchase had an immediate positive impact, as Pegula invested in the team, the First Niagara Center, and the construction of Harborcenter across the street, invigorating players, fans, and alumni. Pegula stated that the Buffalo Sabres’ primary goal was to win a Stanley Cup.
However, over the following decade, the Buffalo Sabres struggled, with a 281-354-94 record and the longest active NHL postseason drought. Critics have accused Pegula and his wife of meddling in the Sabres’ hockey operations, leading to the firing of six head coaches and three general managers since 2013, as well as controversial trades involving Ryan O’Reilly and Jack Eichel.
Buffalo Bandits: As part of the purchase of Hockey Western New York LLC, Pegula also acquired the Buffalo Bandits, the National Lacrosse League (NLL) team which has won four NLL championships.
Rochester Americans: In 2011, Pegula negotiated the repurchase of the Rochester Americans on behalf of the Sabres. The Americans had previously served as the Sabres’ American Hockey League affiliate from 1979 to 2008, and had been owned by the Sabres from 1979 to 1996. The deal was completed in late June 2011, and included upgrades to the team’s arena, the Blue Cross Arena. As part of the purchase, the Americans had to be separated from their NLL counterpart, the Rochester Knighthawks, since Pegula owned the Bandits at the time due to ownership rules.
Buffalo Bills: On September 9, 2014, Ralph Wilson, the original owner and founder of the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills, passed away and the team was placed up for sale. Pegula, who had a strong commitment to the Western New York area and local connections, was a favorite among most local Bills fans and politicians to buy the team. It was announced that he had placed the winning binding bid to purchase the team.
Buffalo Beauts: In December 2017, Pegula made headlines again for his acquisition of the Buffalo Beauts from the National Women’s Hockey League, now known as the Premier Hockey Federation. This marked the first time that an NWHL team was not owned by the league, and the first instance of a single owner possessing both an NHL team and a professional women’s hockey team in North America. The purchase also signaled Pegula’s entry into women’s hockey. However, Pegula sold the Beauts in 2019.
Rochester Knighthawks: As for the Rochester Knighthawks, Pegula agreed to purchase the team’s intellectual property in 2018, with the transaction set to take place in the fall of 2019. The sale was orchestrated by Curt Styres, who planned to relocate his staff and roster to a new NLL team in Halifax scheduled to debut in the winter of 2020.
Pegula is known for his philanthropy, particularly in the areas of education and children’s health. He and his wife, Kim Pegula, have donated millions of dollars to various causes, including Penn State University, where they established the Pegula Ice Arena, and the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.
His current net worth is estimated to be around $6.7 Billion. This figure can change due to investment values and other regularly changing factors.
Here are some additional achievements and awards of Terry Pegula: