SBD/June 13, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Budweiser, NHLPA Ink Multiyear Deal Seeking To Reconnect With Canadian Fans

Budweiser yesterday announced a multiyear marketing deal with the NHLPA for the Canadian market, two years after the A-B InBev's Labatt brand "lost the biggest sports sponsorship in Canada" in the NHL, according to Susan Krashinsky of the GLOBE & MAIL. The deal was "already in play this past weekend, when a new Budweiser ad made its debut" on the CBC’s broadcast of Blackhawks-Kings Western Conference Finals Game 5. The "emotional spot features the parents" of Kings D Drew Doughty "talking about their pride in their son." The deal is "part of a shifting business strategy" for the NHLPA. Since Exec Dir Donald Fehr assumed the role in '10, the NHLPA "has been courting more marketing partners." Last year, it "partnered with BlackBerry to promote its PlayBook tablets." The union in '10 also "struck a deal" with Allstate of Canada. NHLPA Corporate Partnerships Dir Colin Campbell said that while some brands "choose to sponsor individual players, that kind of celebrity sponsorship is not the only way marketers can take advantage of a connection with players." He said that unlike the "type of high-profile deal that ties Gatorade with [Penguins C] Sidney Crosby for example, 'there is some cost efficiency' to a deal encompassing the roughly 750 players in the NHLPA." In addition to the Budweiser ad, players are "already being integrated into" Budweiser's Red Light campaign that sells "goal lights to fans that could be programmed to go off when their favourite teams score goals." Players including Flames C Mike Cammalleri already have "made surprise appearances at fans’ doors to deliver their lights." A-B InBev Media, Sports & Entertainment Senior Manager Jonathan Ritter said that there will be "more surprise visits in the coming days," adding that the brand in future "could do other promotions such as hosting a viewing party with players and select fans" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/13).
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