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.

Labatt set to sue NHL over their new exclusive deal with Molson Coors

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With all the excitement that ensued over the NHL signing a massive $375+ million sponsorship deal with Molson Coors brewery today to help boost the coffers of the league, there’s one group that’s not exactly pleased about the whole arrangement.

Labatt Brewery alleges that the NHL made an agreement with them in good faith to renew their sponsorship with the league until 2014 and plans to sue the NHL for reneging on the proposed deal.

Labatt’s vice-president of corporate affairs Charlie Angelakos speaks out saying they didn’t do anything wrong in dealing with the NHL and that beer is serious business when it comes to hockey. (Ed. note: Damn straight it is!)

“From out standpoint, nothing went wrong. We completed legally binding terms of renewal for our sponsorship agreement with the NHL,” Mr. Angelakos said in an e-mailed statement.

“Hockey is an important part of the fabric of Canada and in particular to beer drinkers. Labatt always looks to share in passion with our customers and hockey in Canada is the great passion point. Sharing in this passion gives us new – and ongoing – ways to talk to our customers.”

On a day where it seems like the NHL is about to start rolling in dollars and start spraying all the Molson Canadian they want everywhere to celebrate, it turns out the league will have to rally their army of lawyers together to figure out what exactly they’re going to do about all this other beer they thought they got rid of. We’re sure that with the league switching up from Labatt’s to Molson has nothing to do with the bitter feelings here as that’s Canada’s version of Budweiser vs. Coors.

Wait, Labatt operates under the Anhueser-Busch banner while Molson is with Coors? This shouldn’t be awkward at all.

As for the NHL’s take on this whole mess, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly issued a quick statement to diffuse the situation as best he could.

“Labatt has been and continues to be a terrific partner, but we strongly disagree with their assertion that an agreement was in place for the 2011-2012 NHL season. We have no further comment at this time.”

Someone get a bouncer to separate these guys.

NHL agrees to $375M+ deal with Molson Coors/Miller Coors

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Let’s hope that the Miller, Coors and Molson come up with some entertaining – or at least watchable – advertisements during the next seven years, because it’s likely that hockey fans will see a ton of them.

That’s because the NHL reached a huge seven-year deal reportedly worth more than $375 million with Molson Coors/MillerCoors to be the official beer of the league, according to various sources. MillerCoors covers the U.S. end while Molson (not surprisingly) will dominate Canada’s advertising and promotions.

This boozy deal ranks as the largest sponsorship agreement in the NHL’s history, according to the New York Times. The league must feel very good about its gains made during the last few seasons, as this great bit of sponsorship news goes in tandem with  ratings improving for events such as the Winter Classic and All-Star Game.

It is more than twice as much as what the incumbent sponsors, Anheuser-Busch in the United States and Labatt in Canada, which are owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, will have paid through this season. The deal will be announced Tuesday.

“Hockey and beer go together,” said Andy England, the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for MillerCoors. “Hockey fans are big beer drinkers. In fact, we have data that shows hockey fans are the biggest beer drinkers of any major sports league.”

Under the deal, Molson Canadian will be the official beer of the N.H.L. in North America. Coors Light will have sponsorship rights in the two countries.

Molson Coors owns 42 percent of MillerCoors, so it pursued the deal as a North American partnership. An agreement was reached soon after the Jan. 30 All-Star Game.