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Pegula Sports Entertainment spares Buffalo Bills employees as multiple Sabres executives fired

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The owners’ vast sports empire took a hit on Monday.

Owners Kim and Terry Pegula have fired multiple executives of the Buffalo Sabres in a move that was reportedly in the works prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report from John Vogl at The Athletic, Buffalo Bills employees will continue operating at the same level.

The firings include three top-level executives with the Sabres and KeyBank center; vice president of tickets and services John Sinclair, vice president of communications Chris Bandura; and vice president of live events Jennifer Van Rysdam. In all, 21 people were fired on Monday across multiple departments at PSE in what is being described as a cost-cutting measure. (Vogl’s colleague Tim Graham reported in early March there were rumblings of cost cuts coming to the Sabres.) The moves would have come this summer, according to Vogl, but the pandemic moved up the timeline.

In addition to the firings, 104 employees of the Sabres and PSE were furloughed or received a temporary pay cut due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Again, these moves were across multiple departments at PSE, KeyBank Center, Harborcenter, and the Sabres but apparently not with the Buffalo Bills.

Last month, the Pegulas said they would lay off all their hospitality workers in the PSE organization in response to the coronavirus-related shutdowns and not compensate stadium workers until games were canceled, not just postponed. The NHL is still officially postponed and it’s been a month since an event was held at KeyBank.

Following the backlash from not paying those workers, the Pegulas pledged $1.2 million to the response to COVID-19 in the Western New York area, joining with players, broadcasters, and team employees from across the Bills, Sabres, and rest of their vast empire.