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Volume 24 No. 155
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NHL Signs Mammoth Seven-Year Sponsorship Deal With MillerCoors

The NHL has signed MillerCoors in the U.S. and Molson Coors in Canada as its newest corporate sponsor in a mammoth seven-year deal across North America that is the league’s most financially lucrative sponsorship ever. With the deal, MillerCoors replaces Anheuser-Busch, which had held U.S. NHL league sponsorship rights since '94, and A-B-owned Labatt, the NHL's Canadian beer sponsor since '98. MillerCoors has committed to spending $375M over the next seven years through an estimated $100M in rights fees, $100M in activation expenditures, another $100M in media buys with league rights holders and various club spending obligations. The deal, set to be announced today, is effective July 1.

"Hockey is a sport that's extremely strong with our customers in the Northeast and Midwest and overall we see this as a bet on the future of the NHL," said MillerCoors CMO Andy England. "NHL fans are the biggest consumers of beer among fans of any major league sport, so it's just a nice match for us." England added that Molson Canadian's "heritage" positioning and Coors Light's message of "Cold Refreshment" are also nice creative matches for the NHL.

With the NHL seeking a new TV deal, a major new beer contract is a nice start. "You have to admire what Coors did with its NFL rights as far as activation," said NHL COO John Collins. "Filling an important category like this is a nice part of any TV deal and we are as well positioned as a sport and a business as we ever have been."

See today's issue of THE DAILY for more.