Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

May 8, 2013

ROOT: One ugly circle

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The fans in this area are brutal, but there is a good reason for it. Because this area does not offer the financial opportunities that one would find in a place like New York City or Boston, we work harder for our money. When we choose to spend our money on a professional sports team, we expect to see a winning team. To us sports fans, it should be that simple.

But it is not that simple. To be competitive in professional sports these days, you need to have money. You can be as creative as you want, but you still need a lot of money to make a winning team. The television contracts with the NFL pay most of the salaries for the teams, but that does not cover the coaches. The reason that the Bills do not bring in that coach with Super Bowl winning experience is that the team simply cannot afford it. That is not a cop out; that is the truth.

The reason that Terry Pegula keeps Darcy Regier is because Regier has learned how to keep the seats filled while still showing a profit. The NHL, just like any other sports league, is a business. Terry Pegula can say that he doesn’t care if he loses money with the Sabres, but he has found out the hard way that it matters a lot.

When you see your $100+ million investment lose value at a rapid rate, you will do what you need to do to reverse that and get some stability back into the company. That is exactly what Pegula is doing right now. He is stabilizing his investment and Darcy has a long history of being successful with that.

The Sabres announced that interim head coach Ron Rolston will now be the team’s full-time head coach. Is it the absolute best move the team could have made? No, it isn’t. If Pegula was still operating under what he said when he bought the team two years ago, he would have brought in someone with Stanley Cup experience. But those guys are expensive, and Terry Pegula can no longer afford to go backwards on his investment.

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