FanShot

Molson wins latest round in NHL Sponsorship war

I hadn't actually heard of this before today, but apparently, the NHL signed a new deal with Molson in February, after screwing over Labatts. The gist of the situation is found in paragraph 2 of the trial judge's decision: Labatt has had these rights, referred to as sponsorship rights, since 2002. The current contract runs from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2011. Negotiations to renew these rights for three years to June 30, 2014 took place between business people from Labatt and the NHL beginning in August, 2010. A renewal clause provided Labatt with an exclusive period to negotiate. Labatt says they made a deal within the exclusive period. The NHL says they did not. The negotiators were extremely close to a final signed agreement by February, 2011 when Molson1 came to the NHL and expressed an interest in negotiating U.S. and Canadian sponsorship rights. At that point the lawyers for the NHL went into high gear and the NHL said to Molson that it was free to negotiate with them. A deal was signed soon after between the NHL and Molson for 7 years under which Molson paid substantially more for the Canadian sponsorship rights than Labatt and the NHL had agreed to. The Cliff's Notes of the Trial decision was that, basically, the NHL had a deal with Labatts for rights in Canada in November, 2010 (sort of) pending finalization of the formal agreement. Molson comes to the NHL in February and says we want full North American rights and aren't interested in US only. So Bettman and the NHL toss Labatts to the side and scoop up $375 million dollars from Molson. Appeal Court has overturned the Trial Judgement and sent it back for a rehearing, thus reinstating the Molson deal, at least temporarily. If those facts are found again, I can't see a different trial Judge making a diffferent finding, however. To us Canadians, this is the difference between Labatt Blue and Molson Canadian in the Stadiums, notwithstanding that Labatt's sponsors, I think, more than 20 teams in the League. To you Yanks, its Bud vs Coors. :hopethisworks:

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