Tag: Molson Coors

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Cheers: Appeal court sides with NHL, Molson-Coors on $375M+ sponsorship deal

For a while, it seemed like the NHL and Molson-Coors would suffer a serious hangover after celebrating their “monster” $375 million+ sponsorship deal.

The Ontario Superior Court agreed with rival brewer LaBatt (which is under the Anheuser-Busch umbrella, by the way) that the NHL violated a good faith agreement when it made that agreement with Molson-Coors. The NHL and Molson-Coors decided to appeal the decision and can now sip victory from the legal Stanley Cup today as the Ontario Court of Appeal took their side. Long story short, it means that the $375 million+ deal is back on.

Here is the requisite victory quote/release from Molson-Coors.

“Molson Coors Canada feels vindicated by Ontario Court of Appeal’s ruling today to reinstate our NHL sponsorship and are thrilled to be able to pursue our aspiration of delighting fans of the NHL this season and beyond,” Molson-Coors Canada CEO Dave Perkins said in a statement issued shortly after the ruling was released Tuesday.

Report: NHL, Molson Coors will appeal court ruling in favor of Labatt’s lawsuit

Cuba Gooding Jr.
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Labatt/Anheuser-Busch scored a big victory in court on Friday when the Ontario Superior Court upheld their lawsuit against the NHL for their $375+ million exclusivity deal with Molson Coors. That was a surprising ruling, but the league and rival brewer’s response isn’t expected to shock many. The NHL and Molson Coors are planning to appeal the court’s decision to uphold that lawsuit.

In a way, this court battle is almost Canada’s version of Budweiser vs. Coors, although the dispute obviously extends to the 23* American markets as well.

The NHL cannot really have too many nasty feelings toward Anheuser-Busch, either. Marketing Mag.ca points out that 22 American teams are sponsored by that company, although it is unclear if the ex-Atlanta Thrashers were one of those teams.

Click here for more details of the lawsuit from Friday’s post. We’ll keep our eyes on this legal situation because a huge chunk of the league’s money could be at stake.

* We have to keep in mind that there are seven Canadian teams now, not six. Kinda strange, eh?

Is the NHL’s ‘monster deal’ with Molson Coors in danger after Labatt’s wins case against league?


The NHL seemed like it hit gold (or at least amber?) with its sudsy sponsorship deal with Molson Coors/Miller Coors from earlier this year. The adult beverage giant paid more than $375 million to be the official beer of the NHL in February, making it the largest sponsorship deal in the league’s history.

That sounded like a boozy slam dunk for the NHL, but beer rival Labatt’s wasn’t too happy with that relationship. The company decided to sue the league, claiming that the NHL made a good faith agreement with them to renew their sponsorship with the league until 2014.

(For those of you who enjoy squabbles between huge beer manufacturers, it’s probably relevant to note that Labatt’s is associated with Anheuser-Busch. So one could say that this qualifies as another battle between Budweiser and Coors.)

The Associated Press reports that The Ontario Superior Court agreed with Labatt’s argument in the case today, putting what NHL chief operating officer John Collins called a “monster deal” in serious doubt. We’ll have to wait and see if the league will be forced to scrap that monster deal, just pay some “damages” to Labatt’s or some other alternative, but either way it’s a headache for the NHL.

If you take the Anheuser-Busch/Labatt’s perspective, it seems like they’ll be able to stick with the NHL through the 2013-2014 season.

“We are pleased that Budweiser’s sponsorship of the NHL will continue,” Charlie Angelakos, Labatt’s vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement. “Budweiser and hockey are a natural fit. We look forward to a very productive relationship with the league through the 2013-14 season and are actively looking for opportunities on a team and grass-roots level to reinforce that connection.”

Labatt took on its beer rival in February when it filed a notice of application to the Ontario Superior Court asking the court to toss out the NHL’s new agreement with Coors.

Budweiser is owned by Anheuser-Busch, which is Labatt’s corporate parent. Anheuser-Busch is also the sponsor for 22 of the 24 NHL teams currently based in the United States.

The news comes during hectic period for the NHL. Besides being in the midst of the Stanley Cup finals between Vancouver and Boston, the league is also dealing with the pending sale and relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.