Feb 22, 2011 at 02:34 PM
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NHL, Molson & MillerCoors Sign 7-Year North American Sponsorship Deal

The National Hockey League has announced a major cross-border sponsorship agreement with brewers Molson Coors in Canada and sister company, MillerCoors in the U.S., which was established as a result of a joint venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller. Molson Canadian will receive exclusive League rights in the beer category as Official Beer of the NHL, beginning with the 2011-12 NHL season and running through the end of the 2019 season. Sports Business Daily reports that the deal will be the NHL's most lucrative ever, with MillerCoors spending $375 million in rights fees, activation and media commitments.

Molson Canadian's official beer rights will also provide sponsor benefits at the NHL Face-Off, NHL Winter Classic, NHL Heritage Classic, NHL All-Star, as well as the opportunity to offer consumer promotions involving the Stanley Cup. The deal provides Molson with promotion in NHL media assets including NHL.com, NHL Network, NHL Mobile and NHL Social. Coors Light will share some of the sponsorship assets in the U.S. and Canada, while Molson Canadian will serve as the lead brand on the deal, in both countries.

“This partnership with Molson Coors and MillerCoors will be groundbreaking for the NHL and our fans,” said John Collins, NHL Chief Operating Officer. “Molson Canadian is an iconic brand with a rich hockey heritage and Coors Light has a track record of connecting with sports fans in innovative and effective ways. The combination of unprecedented support of our clubs and TV rightsholders with activation across the NHL’s comprehensive portfolio of marketing and media assets will create great opportunities for both brands.” Dave Perkins, President and CEO, Molson Coors Canada, said, “Molson Canadian is synonymous with the game of hockey and was the brand that helped build the tradition of ‘Hockey Night’ across Canada. Partnering with the NHL reinforces Molson Canadian’s ‘Made from Canada’ brand position, and also reflects our company’s desire to help Canadians connect over shared passions and great beer.”

“Molson Canadian has a long history of supporting hockey at all levels and will use this platform to build momentum in the States, especially in its core markets where hockey already has a stronghold with fans,” said Andy England, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer at MillerCoors. “And Coors Light, the brand that’s all about ‘cold refreshment,’ will use the NHL partnership to strengthen its presence in NHL markets, especially in regions such as the Northeast and Great Lakes.”