SBD/15/Sports Media

REPORTS HAVE LABATT TAKING OVER HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA

          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).  

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