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Brandon leading Bills, Sabres business operations no surprise

The news became official Monday, but rumblings were in the air for several weeks that Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon would assume the same role with the Pegulas' other sports franchise, the Sabres.

Brandon will oversee the business operations for both teams, and report directly to Terry and Kim Pegula. The move came as the Sabres announced they have "mutually agreed to part ways" with former club president Ted Black.

Brandon had became increasingly involved with the Sabres' business operation, and last June he accompanied co-owner Kim Pegula and others within the franchise's hierarchy to the NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas. Several high-end sponsors making the trip also have sponsorship deals with the Bills, evidence that the amount of business crossover between the teams eliminated the need for each to have a president.

Other members of the Bills' business operations have already been doing Sabres-related work.

It also was known, according to a source close to the situation, that Black was falling increasingly into disfavor with the Pegulas and that his departure could happen at any time.

Another source close to the situation said Brandon's ability to "combine assets more effectively, leverage combined assets and create a consistent message" made him a natural to become president of both teams.

"Since we purchased the Buffalo Bills last October, we have been highly impressed with the business acumen that Russ has shown with the Bills," Terry and Kim Pegula said in a statement released by the Sabres. "Now is an appropriate time to give him additional responsibilities with the Sabres. Russ will work with Pegula Sports & Entertainment to create strong synergies between the Sabres and Bills.

"With Russ' strong ties to the area business community and sponsorship partners, he will effectively position both organizations for future growth. We are grateful to Ted Black for all he has done for the Sabres organization and wish him much success in his future endeavors."

The Bills and Sabres aren't the only organization to have this structure. New Orleans Saints executive vice president and GM Mickey Loomis is also head of basketball operations for the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans.

Sabres General Manager Tim Murray will continue to oversee hockey operations for the organization and report directly to Terry and Kim Pegula. The Bills have a similar structure with GM Doug Whaley and coach Rex Ryan also reporting directly to the Pegulas.

"I would like to thank Terry and Kim for the confidence they have placed in me," Brandon said. “With so much excitement surrounding the Sabres, there is also great opportunity. We have a strong staff at the Sabres that I will be relying on and there is much from my Bills experience that can be applied at the Sabres. I look forward to the opportunity to engage with the Sabres great fans and lead the business operations of both teams."

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