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Volume 24 No. 158
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Canadian Judge Rules Molson-NHL Deal "Valid" Before Start Of Regular Season

Ontario Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Morawetz ruled Thursday afternoon that the NHL's $375M North American sponsorship deal with Molson Coors “is valid,” according to Josh Rubin of the TORONTO STAR. Morawetz in a brief note Thursday sent to Molson Coors, Labatt Breweries and the NHL “tossed out the suit, without immediately giving reasons for his decision.” Morawetz wrote, “The application has been dismissed, reasons to follow.” Attorney Paul Steep of McCarthy Tetrault, who had argued Molson Coors’ case, indicated that Morawetz “likely wanted to make his decision known before the puck dropped on the season, and that’s why no detailed, written explanation was immediately released.” Rubin notes Molson Coors has “exclusive Canadian sponsorship deals with 5 of Canada’s 7 NHL teams,” while Labatt’s parent company, A-B InBev, has deals with the Canucks and Flames. In the U.S., where sponsorship deals “aren’t exclusive, A-B InBev has agreements with 22 teams; Molson Coors has agreements with 16 U.S.-based teams” (TORONTO STAR, 10/7).