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Buffalo Bills sale approved
NFL
Buffalo Bills sale approved

The sale of the Buffalo Bills to Terry and Kim Pegula has been officially approved, the NFL announced Wednesday.

The league's owners voted unanimously to approve the Pegulas' $1.4 billion bid to purchase the team at the NFL's fall owners meeting in Manhattan. A three-quarters majority was required to make the sale official.

According to the Toronto Sun's John Kryk, the owners forewent the usual Q-and-A session with the prospective owners and instead immediately voted to approve the Pegulas.

Terry, a local business leader, also owns the NHL's Buffalo Sabres. 

The duo reached an initial agreement to buy the team from the trust overseeing the late Ralph Wilson's estate last month. The NFL finance committee then approved the deal on Sept. 17.

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The news of the sale of the Bills to the Pegulas was cause for celebration among the team's fans, as it meant the franchise would stay in Buffalo. Some had speculated that other potential ownership groups that made bids, including ones fronted by rock star Jon Bon Jovi and real estate mogul Donald Trump, would relocate the team if they were successful in their purchase.

The Bills went up for sale when Wilson died in March. Wilson, who was 95, founded the Bills as an AFL team in 1959 and oversaw the franchise until his death, though he gave up control of the franchise's operations in 2013.

Last week, it was reported that before his death Wilson directed that a substantial portion of the sale's proceeds be given to charitable causes in the cities of Buffalo and Detroit, where he was raised and ran his businesses. The exact figure is unknown, but the donation will reportedly exceed $300 million.

Terry Pegula made his fortune largely through natural gas development. He has owned the Sabres since February 2011 and also owns the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League and the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League. In 2011, he donated $100 million to alma mater Penn State to help fund the creation of men's and women's varsity hockey programs as well as a new ice arena named for him.

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The Pegulas' chief task as new owners could be financing a new stadium to replace Ralph Wilson Stadium, which has been in use since 1973. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this year that the Bills need a new stadium to remain viable in Western New York.

The Bills are 3-2 this season and tied for first place in the AFC East.

Ben Estes

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