Labatt Signs With Canucks, Flames In Brewer's First NHL Team-Specific Deals
Labatt Brewing Co. has signed multiyear deals with both the Canucks and Flames "worth millions of dollars," marking the "first time Labatt has sponsored an NHL team directly," according to a source cited by Josh Rubin of the TORONTO STAR. Both the Canucks and Flames are "in the final season of multi-year deals with Labatt archrival Molson Coors." Signing deals with the teams "represents a change of strategy for Labatt, which until now had focused on sponsoring the NHL as a whole in Canada, rather than individual teams." Labatt's sponsorship of the NHL in Canada ends after this season, and the league "is believed to be seeking a new North America-wide beer sponsorship deal instead." Labatt Dir of Corporate Affairs Charlie Angelakos said that the brewer "has an agreement to renew through 2014, but acknowledged the renewal is in dispute." Morningstar analyst Philip Gorham said that the Canadian team deals "were a good idea for Labatt." However, he "wasn't so sure if a North American deal would make sense for its parent company," A-B InBev (TORONTO STAR, 2/19).