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Bills, Sabres hire executive to oversee government relations

October 2, 2018

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The parent company that owns the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL Sabres has hired Christopher Schoepflin to oversee its dealings with federal, state and local governments.

The hiring on Tuesday comes at a time the Pegula Sports and Entertainment-owned teams will be seeking public financial support to upgrade their facilities, including the possibility of the Bills building a new stadium.

Schoepflin has extensive connections at the state level by having spent the past eight years working in the administration of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

He also has nearly 16 years of experience at Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, which provides financial assistance to companies looking to settle or expand in the state.

In 2012, Empire State played a role in negotiating the Bills’ 10-year-lease, which included $227 million in taxpayer funds committed to renovations and annual expenses.

Last month, Bills and Sabres co-owner Kim Pegula told The Associated Press the NFL team has yet to determine whether to renovate its existing 46-year-old facility or build a new one. Pegula said formal discussions won’t begin until after the gubernatorial race is settled in November.

The Sabres are also expected to seek public assistance in preparing plans to make significant upgrades to KeyBank Center, which opened in 1996.

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