World-Renowned Sports Industry Figure
Behind the games and the athletes witnessed and cheered by fans on the fields of endeavor are the community pillars that own the teams, fund and build the arenas, patronize and support the athletes of tomorrow, and perform the unseen functions that make professional sports possible. The Jacobs family has long been an integral part of the Buffalo sports scene, and for the past 40 years the family legacy has been carried on by Delaware North Chairman and CEO Jeremy Jacobs.
Jeremy’s father, Louis Jacobs, and his uncles Charles and Marvin rose to prominence in the first half of the last century as concessionaires to major league baseball. That business has expanded and thrived over the years through Delaware North’s predecessors, Emprise and Sportservice, Inc. Today, Delaware North’s impact on the sports concession front is global, touching dozens of franchises in all North American professional leagues and events such as the Super Bowl, World Series, Olympic Games, Goodwill Games, and World Cup. Over the last generation, however, the company’s contributions have expanded far beyond feeding the hungry masses at sporting events. Under Jeremy’s guidance, Delaware North has been involved with the financing and building of several major sporting venues, including the Fleet Center in Boston and HSBC Arena in Buffalo. The company has developed a private arena-financing model currently at work in other cities as well, a model which features construction without public funds (as with the Fleet Center).
Jeremy Jacobs is rated as one of the most influential people in sports by Sports Business Journal. His influence in professional hockey is particularly noteworthy: as owner of the Boston Bruins for more than 30 years, as a leader on the NHL Board of Governors, and as Chairman of the Negotiating Committee for the NHL, playing a significant role in the development of the NHL’s new collective bargaining agreement, a life-saver to small-market teams like the Buffalo Sabres.
While Jacobs’ companies have prospered, their community-minded, philanthropic efforts have been an important by-product of that success. Jeremy founded the Boston Bruins Foundation, and has been involved with many endowment and sports scholarship programs, including a highly successful Women’s Sports Endowment program at the University at Buffalo.
The Western New York business and sports communities have been fortunate to count among their residents a player on the international sports stage that remains true to his roots with unwavering support for local sports endeavors. For instance, Jacobs was a key player in the “Business Backs the Bills” ticket sales campaign in 1998 which helped ensure that the franchise would remain local and viable. Tonight, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame honors Jeremy Jacobs, a true fan whose efforts have ensured Buffalo’s continuing status as a major-league town.