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REPORTS HAVE LABATT TAKING OVER HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
Published October 15, 1997
Molson Breweries "is giving up its sponsorship" of CBC's Saturday night "Hockey Night in Canada" (HNIC), a show it has been associated with for 40 years, according to David Shoalts of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. Another sponsor, "thought to be rival brewery" Labatt Brewing Co., "will take over next season" as sponsor of HNIC. The new sponsor "landed the show by offering to pay" the NHL C$75M over five years for French and English language rights to the Saturday night games for the six Canadian teams. Molson "had offered" C$40M for the same package, "which was rejected by the NHL, and the brewery declined to pay more." Molson VP/Media & Sports Properties Brent Scrimshaw "could not confirm" Labatt had inked the package, but said that Molson "will still be involved with NHL hockey through continuing sponsorship agreements with the six Canadian NHL teams for their mid-week broadcasts." Scrimshaw added that Saturday ratings in the among males 18-34, "have been declining for several years." Molson is paying the NHL "about" C$62M in its final season for Canadian broadcast and promotional rights (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/15). LOCAL DEALS: Molson has local deals with the six Canadian teams, and two seasons remain on existing agreements with the Canadiens, Leafs, Flames and Canucks, while contracts with the Senators and Oilers expire this year. Scrimshaw said that Molson "plans to renew all of those agreements" (Al Strachan, TORONTO SUN, 10/15). CHANGES? In Toronto, David Shoalts writes the change in sponsorship "doesn't mean" any changes to on-air personnel. CBC Exec Producer John Shannon: "From a product standpoint, there'll be no noticeable change" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/15).