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Long-Term Management Agreement Reached between City and Pegula Family to Run Blue Cross Arena

Mayor Lovely Warren announced today an agreement with the Pegula family—owners of the Amerks, Sabres and Buffalo Bills—to run the Blue Cross arena for the next 15 years.

The deal will have to be approved by Rochester city council and will put Rochester Arena LLC (RA), an affiliate of Pegula Sports & Entertainment (PSE), in charged of operation of the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial from Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2033.

“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.”

Under the agreement, RA will pay the City $60,000 a year to operate all aspects of the Arena, including concessions, ticketing and booking events. RA will pay all operating expenses, including utilities, and half of the Rochester Police Department’s costs related to Arena events.

RA will retain revenues generated from advertising, suite sales, and scoreboard sponsorship and any other revenue generated from operations. The City will retain responsibility for the structure and replacement of building systems, while RA will be responsible for routine maintenance and repairs. Over the course of the agreement, RA and the City will each contribute $3 million for capital improvements to the Arena.

In addition, the agreement provides for RA to manage the Court Street Parking Lot and pay the City $100,000 annually to manage the lot. The City will be entitled to the use of lot spaces at no cost for Police, Fire and Information Technology Departments.

“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. “We look forward to working together to realize Blue Cross Arena’s incredible potential, and playing a leading role in the development of Rochester’s downtown corridor.”

The proposed agreement follows September’s announcement that the Arena is slated to receive more than $18 million in major renovations with funds from the City, State and RA.