The City of Rochester says it has reached an agreement that will allow the owners of the Buffalo Sabres and Bills to manage Rochester’s Blue Cross Arena through 2033.
Pegula Sports and Entertainment took over operations of the arena in July after the city booted former managers SMG.
The Sabres owners, who also own the Amerks and Knighthawks, were added as managers on an interim basis while a longer term deal was hammered out with the city.
The new deal would allow Pegula Sports and Entertainment to manage the arena until the end of 2033.
As part of the agreement, the Blue Cross Arena would be managed by Pegula Sports and Entertainment affiliate “Rochester Arena,” which will pay $60,000 to the city to fully operate the arena, including concessions, ticketing and booking events. Rochester Arena will also pay all operating expenses including utilities and half of police department costs related to arena events.
The city and Rochester Arena will each contribute $3 million for improvement projects at the arena over the course of the deal. That is in addition to $18 million in funds for upgrades previously announced.
Mayor Warren says upgrades to the arena will compliment the city’s initiative to build up areas around the Genesee River, a project called “ROC the Riverway.”
“This agreement will put the long-term success of one of Rochester’s most important tourist destinations in the hands of a proven management company while significantly reducing the City’s costs to maintain it,” said Mayor Warren. “Combined with the renovations already underway as a result of the RA’s investments and our ROC the Riverway program, this agreement will put the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial on a clear path to the highest tiers of regional sports and entertainment venues.”
“This is a great day for the future of Rochester. Pegula Sports & Entertainment is proud to announce our partnership with the City and begin transforming Blue Cross Arena into a premier attraction along the Genesee River,” said PSE Chief Operating Officer Bruce Popko.
City Council is required to approve the deal before it becomes official. The council’s next meeting is on December 18.