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).