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Buffalo Bills sell for more than $1 billion — may be record price

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(Photo: David Banks/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The Buffalo Bills have been sold for what looks to be a record price.

The team said Tuesday that Terry and Kim Pegula, owners of hockey’s Buffalo Sabres, are buying the team.

An industry source who was not involved in the deal told CNNMoney that the Pegulas paid at least $1.1 billion. That matches the record price paid for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2008.

The Bills have been struggling lately. Forbes magazine, which tracks team valuations, estimates the team is worth “only” $935 million, ranking it 31 out of 32 teams in the league.

The Bills were put up for sale after the death of the team’s original owner, Ralph Wilson, earlier this year. Fans feared that a sale could force the team to move to another city, since Buffalo is a small sports market.

But the Pugulas said they are committed to keeping the team in Buffalo.

“It is gratifying to reassure these great fans that two franchises so important to our region are both here to stay,” they said in a statement.

The NFL is by far the most profitable sports league, with annual revenue of about $10 billion. The most valuable franchise is the Dallas Cowboys, which Forbes estimates is worth $3.2 billion. NFL teams are extremely profitable, so they’re rarely put up for sale.

Most sports leagues have been able to boost their broadcast revenue, as advertisers struggle to find programming that viewers still watch in real time. That makes sports broadcasts particularly valuable.

There have been some eye-popping deals announced recently.

Related: NFL stadiums disappearing faster than ever

The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers were sold earlier this year to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks each recently sold for $550 million.

The Atlanta Hawks franchise was put up for sale Sunday and is expected to sell for at least $700 million.

 

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