TORONTO, ON – Following through on threats made last week, Labatt Breweries has filed suit in Ontario Superior Court against Molson Coors and the National Hockey League over the multi-year sponsorship deal recently signed between the latter two corporations.
According to a report in the Toronto Star:
In a notice of application filed at the Ontario Superior Court, Labatt asked the court to toss out the league’s new $375 million sponsorship agreement with Molson Coors. Labatt claims it reached a deal to renew its Canadian sponsorship agreement with the NHL in November, but that the league then turned around and signed a North America-wide contract with Molson Coors instead.
“The NHL … in bad faith and in breach of their contractual obligations, went behind Labatt’s back to negotiate an agreement with the Molson Coors Respondents for the rights Labatt has held for almost 13 years,” Labatt alleged in its filing. The filing names four arms of the NHL, as well as Molson Coors Canada, and MillerCoors (MillerCoors is a U.S. joint venture of Molson Coors and SAB Miller.)
Representatives of both the NHL and Molson refused to comment on the matter beyond indicating their belief that their new agreement is valid, with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also stating that they “intend to defend against Labatt’s claim vigorously.”