An Ontario judge has tossed out the National Hockey League’s “monster” $375-million North American sponsorship deal with Molson-Coors, saying the league already had a Canadian agreement with the company’s archrival Labatt.
The decision Friday by Ontario Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould to toss out the biggest sponsorship deal in NHL history comes as the league is in the midst of the Stanley Cup final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.
The judge said that Molson-Coors suspected that the league had already reached a deal with Labatt when it decided to negotiate its own agreement. Molson-Coors and the NHL reached a seven-year deal for North American sponsorship rights in February. The judge ruled the NHL had already agreed in November to have Labatt as Canadian sponsor.
This was Labatt's belief from the start. Ouch.