The Role of Social Media in Pegula’s Purchase of the Bills

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in ComLead

Emily Felmet Digital Content Producer, WIVB-TV Channel 4
It was mid morning on September 9th, 2014, when news broke that Terry and Kim Pegula reached an agreement with the estate of Ralph Wilson Jr. to purchase the Buffalo Bills franchise. Fans, players and community leaders were at work, at school or just going about their regular Tuesday when they learned of the historic $1.4 billion purchase by the owners of the Buffalo Sabres

The news didn’t break on television; it wasn’t with a newspaper headline delivered to subscribers’ front doors, it was online. Many people learned about the agreement through a text alert from local news organizations, or from posts on Twitter, Facebook or other social media outlets. From there, word of mouth spread quickly and “Terry Pegula” was quickly a trending topic worldwide on Twitter.
While most people were thrilled with the news, it was not a complete shock. The fan favorite for Bills ownership was suspected to be behind a deal, as the process moved forward. In fact, suspicions flew threw the roof because of social media.
The night before the official word of a deal from the Buffalo Bills, Terry and Kim Pegula’s daughter Kelly used Twitter to express excitement about her inside knowledge of the agreement. Some Twitter posts containing exclamation points led sports journalists and enthusiasts to the conclusion that a deal must be in the works.
From there, social media exploded with excitement. The daughter of the soon-to-be Bills owners serves as a connection between fans and the owners. Her likability, class and thoughtfulness gave the already passionate fan base a bridge to know the owners even better.
Whether fans and media use Twitter to connect with one another or just to spread information, social media played a major role in the delivery of the major news story. As details developed, sports insiders shared information with their coworkers at the same time they shared it with the public, online as it was happening.
Whether a company is trying to control a message, the media is investigating a story, or a fan or consumer wants information, social media management should now be considered a priority. Organizations and businesses can’t fear social media. They should celebrate it and learn how to use it to their advantage as soon as possible.
The Pegula family’s purchase of the Buffalo Bills will likely be the story of the year in Western New York. It’s a story that will be reported and recorded over social media. The news medium will keep fans informed, journalists connected and the Pegula family very busy.

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