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.