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NHL will have challenge getting new sponsors … Owners likely to come down on ‘make whole’ … Bertuzzi expects cancelled season

  • Terry Lefton and Christopher Botta of Sports Business Daily: Kraft Foods’ had to cancel their Hockeyville promotion last week due to the lockout.

    “National sponsors will eventually have to move their dollars because they have to sell soap, beer or whatever,” said Peter Luukko, president and CEO of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center. “Locally, there’s more loyalty, sponsor-wise, and not as many choices, though obviously we don’t take them for granted.”

    “If I was a company being courted by the NHL today, or if I was advising a company being courted, I would be concerned,” said Michael Neuman, the managing partner at Scout Sports and Entertainment, the agency for Geico, which has league sponsorship rights, and around 20 complementary NHL team deals. “The current commissioner [Gary Bettman, commissioner since 1993] has three work stoppages under his belt.”

    NHL sponsors have clauses in their deals that grant them relief when there is a work stoppage. The NHL’s biggest sponsor, MolsonCoors, has already blamed slower beer sales on the NHL lockout.

    John Tatum, CEO of Genesco Sports Enterprises said the NHL will have a challenge ahead of them regarding getting new sponsors.

    “New sponsors are going to be the slowest thing to get back,” said Tatum. “They had so much momentum with last season’s playoffs and all the postseason games on national TV for the first time [on NBC and NBC Sports Network]. Fans will come back, but you have to reclaim some portion of their media consumption, because that has changed. I’m also concerned about the franchises that were struggling before the lockout.”

  • Darren Dreger via twitter: The NHL’s ‘make whole’ number of $211 million is likely to go down and not up. The Board of Governors meeting on December 5th could be telling. More flex on system issues or on ‘make whole’ by the owners could change the direction of the CBA negotiations, but some owners will not or can’t give anymore.