The Pegula family has sold its majority stake in Cheektowaga-based AdPro Sports to Legends, a wide-ranging sports services company that has built increasingly strong ties with Pegula Sports and Entertainment and the Buffalo Bills.
The deal closed earlier this week, according to a statement from PSE.
“We have had an ongoing partnership with Legends for the Bills’ new stadium project over the last several months,” according to the statement. “And even though this sale is separate from the stadium agreement, Legends was impressed with our team and facility, and has maintained they will continue to invest and operate out of Western New York.”
The announcement came shortly after AdPro founder Ron Raccuia left the employ of the Buffalo Bills.
Terms of the sale have not been disclosed.
In a statement, Legends Global Merchandise President Kirta Carroll said the acquisition fits into the company’s rapid growth over the last few years.
“The acquisition of ADPRO Sports and the addition of their Western New York production facility will accelerate our licensing and wholesale business and expand our in-house production capabilities, better positioning us to deliver an expanded assortment of first-class merchandise products for our partners and their fans,” she said.
AdPro, based in Cheektowaga, handles sports licensing, apparel and merchandise. It has more than 100 employees, according to its website, and works with major apparel brands such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and New Era. AdPro’s revenue in 2021 was $28.71 million, according to Buffalo Business First’s List of Fast Track Companies. Revenue figures were verified by the Amherst accounting firm of Dopkins & Co. LLP.
Raccuia, who founded AdPro in 1998, was named the most influential person in Western New York in Business First’s annual Power 250 listing. His prominent participation in negotiations for the Buffalo Bills stadium was one of the major reasons for his No. 1 ranking.
The Pegulas bought a majority stake in the company in 2017. Raccuia remained AdPro president, while simultaneously working for Pegula Sports and Entertainment. He most recently was executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Bills.
Earlier this week, the Bills announced that team owner Terry Pegula was stepping in as president amid numerous changes to the team’s senior leadership — including Raccuia’s departure.
Legends, founded by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, has been assisting the Bills with the design and construction of the team’s new stadium.
In May the Bills announced that Legends will be the concessions provider at the new stadium when it opens in 2026, replacing Buffalo-based Delaware North.