Mar. 21, 1998 -- The formal announcement that John Rigas and Adelphia Communications had taken over control of the Buffalo Sabres seemed to be in limbo for months and months. Well, the two sides finally got a deal done on this date, and we thought it would be a life-preserver for the franchise.
Here's the way Milt Northrop of The News reported on the deal:
John Rigas of Adelphia Communications Corporation has signed the formal agreement under which Rigas, with participation by Adelphia, would acquire control of the Sabres.
"Details were not released," a prepared statement said, "but will be communicated to the Sabres' partners early next week. A meeting of the partnership is planned early next month to consider the transaction. The closing is expected to take place in April, but is subject to various third-party consents and approvals, including that of the National Hockey League."
Rigas and Adelphia had bought a share of the Sabres earlier in the decade. Back then, owner Seymour Knox III once said that he thought the only way the Sabres could survive in the economic situation of the day was for the team to have a strong tie to the television channel. As it turned out, the team has lasted much longer than the company.
--- Budd Bailey