NHL Reach USD375m 7-Year Deal with Coors Beer

February 23, 2011

A record breaking deal has been reached between the National Hockey League (NHL), for its most lucrative sponsorship agreement in the league’s history, with alcoholic beverage company Molson Coors in Canada and MillerCoors in the United States to make Molson Canadian its official beer.

The deal will span over the course of the next seven years, from the 1st July in time for the start of the 2011/12 season, and will also involve the Coors Light brand in both countries. Molson Canadian will also retain official beer status for key events such as the showpiece outdoor games – the NHL Winter Classic and Heritage Classic – and the NHL All-Star game, and will be able to base promotional activities around the season-ending Stanley Cup. The sponsorship will be promoted across all NHL media platforms.

A reported agreement was reached over the course of the deal for MillerCoors and Molson Coors to pay around US$375m, in order to replace Anheuser-Busch in the US and Labatt in Canada respectively. According to Buffalo Business First, this includes $100m in rights fees, with similar amounts to be spent on activation and media buys with rights holders and franchises.

NHL chief operating officer John Collins hailed the deal as “groundbreaking” for the league, adding: “Molson Canadian is an iconic brand with a rich hockey heritage and Coors Light has a track record of connecting with sports fans in innovative and effective ways. The combination of unprecedented support of our clubs and TV rightsholders with activation across the NHL’s comprehensive portfolio of marketing and media assets will create great opportunities for both brands.”

Molson Coors Canada president and chief executive Dave Perkins stated: “Molson Canadian is synonymous with the game of hockey and was the brand that helped build the tradition of ‘Hockey Night’ across Canada. Partnering with the NHL reinforces Molson Canadian’s ‘Made from Canada’ brand position, and also reflects our company’s desire to help Canadians connect over shared passions and great beer.”

The executive vice president and chief marketing officer at MillerCoors, Andy England added: “Molson Canadian has a long history of supporting hockey at all levels and will use this platform to build momentum in the States, especially in its core markets where hockey already has a stronghold with fans. And Coors Light, the brand that’s all about ‘cold refreshment,’ will use the NHL partnership to strengthen its presence in NHL markets, especially in regions such as the Northeast and Great Lakes.”