Record Breaking NHL Sponsorship Deal in Doubt After Court Ruling

June 6, 2011

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) most lucrative sponsorship deal in its history has been thrown into doubt after an Ontario judge ruled in favor of Labatt’s claim that the league reneged on its agreement with the beer company.

A Friday, June 3, ruling was made in favor of Labatt’s, which claimed it already had a deal in place with the NHL before the league committed to a US$375m sponsorship agreement with arch-rival Molson Coors in February.

Charlie Angelakos, Labatt’s vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement: “We are pleased that Budweiser’s sponsorship of the NHL will continue. 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 following the agreement reached in February, when it filed a notice of application to the Ontario Superior Court asking the court to toss out the NHL’s new deal 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.