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sixer

NHL could lose Air Canada sponsorship over headshots

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Mothers do not HAVE to give their teenage kids allowances, especially if the kid does something wrong or gets in any kind of trouble. Say the kid is failing all his classes. Then the mother can tell him that she will not be giving him allowance until he gets his grades up. It's the same for corporate sponsors. Air Canada does not HAVE to continue to support the NHL if the league does something they don't like. Air Canada is allowed to tell the league that they will continue to support the NHL only if they address and fix the issue.

You are absolutely correct, and I don't think anyone would have a problem with Air Canada actually pulling their money or making a phone call to the league; it's all in the timing and the way they went about it. It seems like whining this way, or bullying on the playground.

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If you want a business, and the NHL is a business, to change some of their practices, you hit them where it hurts -- their wallets. Sports rely a lot on sponsorship deals or other such arrangements, and if said sport is doing something or promoting something that X sponsor thinks is unacceptable, it's perfectly reasonable for X sponsor to say "Hey, either knock this s*** off and/or do something about it, or we're taking our business elsewhere." Do any of you understand that this is how business are at times, forced to change and adapt?

Some of you are acting like this is some new-fangled thing, and it's never ever happened before.

Edited by Electrophile

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If you want a business, and the NHL is a business, to change some of their practices, you hit them where it hurts -- their wallets. Sports rely a lot on sponsorship deals or other such arrangements, and if said sport is doing something or promoting something that X sponsor thinks is unacceptable, it's perfectly reasonable for X sponsor to say "Hey, either knock this s*** off and/or do something about it, or we're taking our business elsewhere." Do any of you understand that this is how business are at times, forced to change and adapt?

Some of you are acting like this is some new-fangled thing, and it's never ever happened before.

I think what people are trying to get at is that they suddenly come out with it after the hit to a Habs player (and some of the people involved are most likely Habs fans). That being said it may well have just been a "the next hit to the head and we're taking action" situation. I think its right what they did, but I can't rightly comment on their reasons for doing it. Just glad they did.

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I am not threatening to pull my funding out...

And how the hell do you know I dont contribute to Red Wings charities?

I dont have my name on arenas... or I did not go public with a statement to " take my puck and go home"

I donate lots of time to USA hockey - that I do not expect to or asked to get paid for. You know my screen name,

dont act like you know me!

I also use tools that I have at my disposal to help the city I live in.. please. Dont assume you know me... I am not asking Air Canada

to sponsor the NHL like Sprint does with Nascar and take over the sport.... Just asking them to add a helpful piece of input before

you decide to do a drastic action like they have threatened to do. If you are going to hold your money over their heads... maybe try and assist

in the resolving of the issue you have. thats all I am saying.

And I'm saying your statement is irrational based on it being irrational. (Not because I think I know you). The exchange of sponsorship money for publicity is all that's being exchanged. If your (meaning NHL) game/actions reflect poorly on me (Air Canada) then I have the right to tell you that I dislike it, and will end said arrangement if you don't do something about it. You (Hockeytown Ryan) saying that's wrong is an opinion that I (Chuklz) disagree with, and that's fine. But you (Hockeytown Ryan) saying that Air Canada should do more for the NHL because they have the capacity to do so is damn silly, its as silly as me (Chuklz) demanding you (Hockeytown Ryan) tithe to the charity of my choice.

I appreciate you clarifying your statement, though it makes more sense that being helpful is better for everyone over being reactionary, even if the arrangement is simply money/services for publicity.

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If you want a business, and the NHL is a business, to change some of their practices, you hit them where it hurts -- their wallets. Sports rely a lot on sponsorship deals or other such arrangements, and if said sport is doing something or promoting something that X sponsor thinks is unacceptable, it's perfectly reasonable for X sponsor to say "Hey, either knock this s*** off and/or do something about it, or we're taking our business elsewhere." Do any of you understand that this is how business are at times, forced to change and adapt?

Some of you are acting like this is some new-fangled thing, and it's never ever happened before.

And that's FINE. No one has a problem with them doing with their money as they please - it's the threatening via the media that's at issue. Do it or don't, but don't announce it unless you've actually done it. I say Bravo for sticking up for their, and I'm using the term loosely in this circumstance, ideals. This would have been better handled behind closed doors, not in the newspaper.

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And that's FINE. No one has a problem with them doing with their money as they please - it's the threatening via the media that's at issue. Do it or don't, but don't announce it unless you've actually done it. I say Bravo for sticking up for their, and I'm using the term loosely in this circumstance, ideals. This would have been better handled behind closed doors, not in the newspaper.

I already said in my first post in this thread that Air Canada should have done this more professionally, and not taken it to the press. However I'm honestly surprised that there's that many people who don't understand that this happens all the time (albeit not in the press) and has happened for as long as there's been businesses and sponsors of those businesses. Air Canada is a major NHL sponsor. The NHL is in the eyes of Air Canada, promoting or condoning behavior they think is beyond what's acceptable in the normal course of a hockey game. So they said publicly (which they shouldn't have done) that if Gary Bettman and Co. don't do something about the excessive headshots, they're pulling their sponsorship and taking their business elsewhere. Which would be a bad thing if it does in fact happen.

You can argue about whether or not they did it in the right way, but I see no argument that says they have or had no legal standing to do it. Look at all the sponsors that pulled advertisements from Glenn Beck's program -- they didn't like the message he was peddling, so they yanked their ads. This is no different in concept, it's just a sport and a sponsor, rather than a TV program/network and its sponsor.

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And I'm saying your statement is irrational based on it being irrational. (Not because I think I know you). The exchange of sponsorship money for publicity is all that's being exchanged. If your (meaning NHL) game/actions reflect poorly on me (Air Canada) then I have the right to tell you that I dislike it, and will end said arrangement if you don't do something about it. You (Hockeytown Ryan) saying that's wrong is an opinion that I (Chuklz) disagree with, and that's fine. But you (Hockeytown Ryan) saying that Air Canada should do more for the NHL because they have the capacity to do so is damn silly, its as silly as me (Chuklz) demanding you (Hockeytown Ryan) tithe to the charity of my choice.

I appreciate you clarifying your statement, though it makes more sense that being helpful is better for everyone over being reactionary, even if the arrangement is simply money/services for publicity.

I understand your point much better as well. My only point was if you (chuklz) likes the sport (NHL) and believe it can be resolved with a few minor decisions,

would you not want to be apart of the solution?

I just don't want to see Advertising on the jerseys... Please no!!!!!!!!

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Oh and for the record....

How long have headshots been a problem in the league?

And when did Air Canada suddenly become concerned with them?

I have the answer; Air Canada head office is in Montreal, obviously the guy Vandal is a huge Habs fan.

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I've also been waiting to see why Air Canada has suddenly rocked the boat.

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Mothers do not HAVE to give their teenage kids allowances, especially if the kid does something wrong or gets in any kind of trouble. Say the kid is failing all his classes. Then the mother can tell him that she will not be giving him allowance until he gets his grades up. It's the same for corporate sponsors. Air Canada does not HAVE to continue to support the NHL if the league does something they don't like. Air Canada is allowed to tell the league that they will continue to support the NHL only if they address and fix the issue.

But here's the question...Is Air Canada saying "We're pulling our money until you address the issue," or "We're pulling our money until you address the issue the way Air Canada wants you to address it."

Gary Green on NHL Network brought up an interesting point on this. This year the NHL has levied 18 suspensions for a total of 64 games for incidents deemed "a blow to the head." So for Air Canada to come out and say "the league isn't doing anything about hits to the head" is inaccurate. It's still a major issue, and it's going to continue to be for a long time, and there will always be ways the league can improve the issue. But to say Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman are just sitting by and watching the league devolve into madness...I just don't see that as the case.

Like I said before, I think this is Air Canada reacting to one league decision that didn't go their way. There have been other questionable rulings on both ends that have passed by before this one that has virtually gone unnoticed, and it's just after a no-call that they choose to react. If Pacioretty gets up and skates away, this discussion doesn't even happen.

By the way, Chara pushed Pacioretty in the side of the chest.....How is that a hit to the head?

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+1 to Air Canada. -1 to all the fallacies and hyperboles in this thread. This isn't any different than a company pulling it's plug on an athlete. Them pulling the plug on the athlete isn't them dictating the athlete, it's just them saying they don't want to be associated with that athlete because they make their brand look bad. In this case, Air Canada is saying they don't want to be associated with the NHL, because the NHL is making their brand look bad.

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UPDATE:

Air Canada threat to pull NHL sponsorship could open floodgates

March 10, 2011

Robert Cribb

Criminal assault charges against NHL players for violent attacks on the ice failed to inspire dramatic reforms.

Political and public calls for greater vigilance around concussion-causing head shots were largely sound and fury dissipating into nothingness.

Now, there’s money on the table.

Could Air Canada’s “unprecedented” public threat of pulling a reported $6 million in annual sponsorship dollars from the National Hockey League’s Canadian clubs focus hockey minds on attacking the attackers?

The fiscal shot over the NHL bow, delivered in the form of a March 9 letter from Air Canada’s director of marketing and communications to league officials, starkly warns that the airline’s iconic Maple Leaf logo — ubiquitously emblazoned on neon signs and rink boards across the country — will disappear unless the league takes “immediate action” to curtail “life-threatening injuries.”

“From a sponsorship perspective, it’s unprecedented,” said Brian Cooper, president and CEO of S&E Sponsorship Group, which negotiates major sports deals on behalf of corporate clients including Scotiabank’s sponsorship deal with the NHL.

“I do not recall in my 30 years where a sponsor has said, ‘Unless the league does something, we’re going to pull out of our sponsorship.’ It’s a heavy-handed, knee-jerk reaction that will get the populous support but I think they’re overstepping their bounds.”

The incendiary for Air Canada’s act of aggression took the graphic form of a thunderous hit by the Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara that left Montreal Canadiens’ forward Max Pacioretty with a fractured vertebrae and concussion.

The league imposed no fine or suspension against Chara.

“You have an airline brand that has ‘safety first’ at its core, which is sponsoring a league where you step on the ice and risk a serious injury,” said Richard Powers, a sports marketing academic at the University of Toronto.

“Where the principles of the league become inconsistent with the sponsor, they have legitimate concerns.”

Air Canada officials would offer no comment Thursday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman lashed back Thursday dismissing Air Canada’s threatened sponsorship pull-out and suggesting the 11 NHL clubs reportedly committed to Air Canada as a carrier may exercise their prerogative to “make other arrangements if they don’t think Air Canada is giving them the appropriate level of service.”

By Thursday afternoon, the verbal scrap turned into a melee.

Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said the league’s decision to issue no punishment to Chara “shook the faith that we, as a community, have in this sport that we hold in such high regard” and that player safety “has reached a point of urgency.”

Bell Canada, a major NHL sponsor and minority owner of the Canadiens, issued a statement saying it is “fully behind” its club’s plan to “engage all NHL owners and the league in addressing safety concerns as quickly as possible.”

Tim Hortons Inc., whose television ads feature concussed NHL phenomenon Sidney Crosby, issued a statement encouraging the “NHL, the teams and general managers and the NHL Players’ Association to continue to work towards addressing concerns with head injuries.”

The U of T’s Powers said the Air Canada letter could be the beginning of a broader push-back against the league.

“The NHL’s got to get its house in order or this will spread. I can’t remember ever in another sports league where a sponsor has threatened to leave because of the non-action of the league.”

Even if there isn’t broad sponsorship mutiny in the short term, other forces could line up against the league, Powers said, including federal and provincial governments. On Thursday, police in Quebec announced they were investigating the incident.

“It really hurts the brand,” said Powers. “And brand is everything. That’s what the NHL is selling. Anything that detracts from the value of that brand is an issue.”

Several other major NHL sponsors contacted yesterday — including Kraft, LG, Scotiabank, Gatorade and Enterprise — said they had no plans to discontinue their sponsorship relationships with the league, although even some of them expressed concerns.

“The love of hockey is part of what Canada is passionate about and we’re a very big supporter of that,” said Rick White, Scotiabank’s vice-president of marketing. “I was at the game Tuesday night and I think it was quite horrific to anybody who saw it at the Bell Centre . . . The debate on concussions has gotten really red-hot.”’

At least a couple of major sponsors have dropped the league in recent months.

McDonald’s ended its sponsorship relationship with the NHL at the expiration of an agreement last July, shifting its focus to grassroots hockey development “that connects with Canadian families,” said company spokesperson Louis Payette.

She said the decision was “completely unrelated to the current concerns being raised by existing sponsors.”

Honda also pulled out of its sponsorship relationship with the league three months ago, said spokesperson Richard Jacobs, calling it a “business decision.”

While the contractual details of Air Canada’s sponsorship deals with NHL clubs are confidential, one industry insider marks the annual contributions at between $1.5 million and $2 million in Toronto (where Air Canada has the naming right for the Maple Leafs’ home rink), about $1 million each in Vancouver and Montreal and between $500,000 and $750,000 in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa.

Air Canada is unlikely to withdraw its support for hockey because of possible legal and financial penalties, said Keith McIntyre, president of K Mac & Associates Marketing Inc. of Burlington.

Besides, Air Canada has too much to lose, he said. Professional hockey arena corporate boxes are filled with the kind of profitable business travellers the airline needs to court.

If Air Canada were to pull its sponsorship, it would be the six Canadian teams — rather than the league itself — that would bear the financial penalty, assuming another sponsor wasn’t waiting in the wings.

The league can’t be in a position of bending to Air Canada’s wishes, Cooper said.

“Where would you draw the line? What if (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman says, ‘We’ll lose money so let’s review this and give (Chara) four games,’ and then Air Canada says, ‘That’s not enough?’”

Some industry watchers suggest continued blood splatters on the ice could eventually cast the NHL in the role of Tiger Woods and the parade of sponsors — including Accenture and Gatorade — who packed up their brands and abandoned him following his high profile admissions of infidelity in 2009.

“It’s not really all that different from the Tiger Woods’ situation,” said Garnet Nelson, director of sponsorship for Cossette Communications in Vancouver.

— With files from Dana Flavelle and Chloe Fedio

Edited by sixer

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I think one needs to ask, would Air Canada have reacted like this if the incident stemmed from a Hurricanes vs. Panthers or Coyotes vs. Sharks game? Personally, I think not. Seems to me the BoD are acting more like kneejerk fans than businessmen on this one.

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I think one needs to ask, would Air Canada have reacted like this if the incident stemmed from a Hurricanes vs. Panthers or Coyotes vs. Sharks game? Personally, I think not. Seems to me the BoD are acting more like kneejerk fans than businessmen on this one.

I'm not sure one needs to ask. Of course they wouldn't have.

They've been completely silent on much worse shots to the head until it happened to the Habs.

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I think one needs to ask, would Air Canada have reacted like this if the incident stemmed from a Hurricanes vs. Panthers or Coyotes vs. Sharks game? Personally, I think not. Seems to me the BoD are acting more like kneejerk fans than businessmen on this one.

If you look at business endorsements over the last few decades, from leagues to athletes, it's all about behavioral engineering. Surely this is nothing new as has been stated by a few here already, but the NHL should tell Air Canada to stick their money up their ass if they are going to push the issue. Athletes have had bad publicity and lost endorsements over harmless crap like toking from a bong, so it's not surprising that the sponsorship of the NHL is on the line because of a convenient knee-jerk hissy fit reaction to a single game. Let Air Canada go endorse the No Fun League.

Edited by Shoreline

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I understand your point much better as well. My only point was if you (chuklz) likes the sport (NHL) and believe it can be resolved with a few minor decisions,

would you not want to be apart of the solution?

I just don't want to see Advertising on the jerseys... Please no!!!!!!!!

As an executive of Air Canada? Not really- but I probably wouldn't have let my marketing director say this in the first place. I think it was simply a move to help vote down Bettman's contract extension which I would have been 100% behind, but the owners see it differently.

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I'm not sure one needs to ask. Of course they wouldn't have.

They've been completely silent on much worse shots to the head until it happened to the Habs.

Well if there was a huge hit to Zetterberg's head that put him in the hospital and say Ford was a sponsor of the NHL and decided to pull its sponsorship because of the lack of action on head shots, then how would we all feel? I think a lot of you guys would be feeling differently.

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+1 to Air Canada. -1 to all the fallacies and hyperboles in this thread. This isn't any different than a company pulling it's plug on an athlete. Them pulling the plug on the athlete isn't them dictating the athlete, it's just them saying they don't want to be associated with that athlete because they make their brand look bad. In this case, Air Canada is saying they don't want to be associated with the NHL, because the NHL is making their brand look bad.

What makes their brand look worse is when half the people I know who have flown AC have their luggage end up somewhere other than their destination.

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will never fly air canada again.

Be 100% sure of that.. unfortunately at least 3 airlines that I know of use Air Canada flights if you're going to Pearson.

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