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SBD/June 6, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship
Judge Rules NHL-MillerCoors Deal Violated Previous Deal With Labatt's
Published June 6, 2011
NOT A REPUTATION YOU WANT: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly Saturday said, "We obviously do not agree with the reasoning or holding of the Court, and we plan to pursue an appeal expeditiously." In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "had to have been stunned to learn of" the ruling. An allegation of "double-dealing from a court" is "not the kind of business profile a league wants." The ruling "quoted an internal Miller-Coors email saying the company entered into talks with the NHL 'with great suspicion' over a possible existing deal with Labatt, and sought indemnities from the league in the event of legal action by Labatt." The rejected Miller-Coors deal "not only robs the NHL of revenue but also draws into question the league's management." An industry analyst said, "It's very embarrassing. Basically, they were trying to sell the same property twice and got caught." Cox wrote, "All in all, not good for the NHL. Even if there is a successful appeal, Friday's judgment creates a bad smell at a time when the Bettman administration clearly believes it has really hit its business stride, just six years after the last lockout threatened to damage the league's business" (TORONTO STAR, 6/5).