NHL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

NHL trying to appease sponsors

Meets with key clients to provide updates on labour negotiations

  • Print

TORONTO -- With no end in sight to the NHL lockout, the league is doing all it can to ease the concerns of its sponsors.

A small group of key clients gathered Wednesday afternoon in Toronto for an audience with chief operating officer John Collins, who provided an update on labour negotiations and took questions from participants.

A source indicated that representatives from Molson, Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Kraft, Sirius XM and Scotiabank participated in the meeting. One attendee called the session "productive" and applauded Collins for taking part.

"They were very transparent with us," said the source, who requested anonymity. "I was looking around the room and the long-term, cumulative contract dollars around the table were probably at the $100-million mark. It's a significant chunk of change for the league."

The sponsors are an important group for the NHL to interact with during the labour dispute. Commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly have held a series of conference calls with business partners in recent months in an effort to keep everyone informed.

Sponsorships played a significant role in the immense growth the league enjoyed after the 2004-'05 lockout. Twenty-two new partners signed on with the NHL over that period as it moved towards a calendar built around signature events, such as the Winter Classic and revamped all-star weekend.

With the NHL on hold, sponsors have been forced to abandon original plans and some have started channelling money into other projects. Typically, campaigns and product launches take months to pull together -- posing a problem for league partners given the uncertainty brought on by the lockout.

"We don't know when the end line is," said the source.

At this point, no one does.

Talks broke off quickly in New York on Tuesday and Donald Fehr, the NHLPA's executive director, returned to Toronto that night. Bettman and Daly remain in New York and the sides have made no formal plans to meet again.

Negotiations have yet to even really get off the ground despite the fact the lockout is almost three weeks old and the scheduled Oct. 11 start to the regular season will almost certainly be postponed before the end of the week.

The primary reason behind the standoff is that the NHL wants to see salaries reduced immediately while the union believes all existing contracts should be honoured. As a result, the NHLPA is unwilling to consider an immediate rollback or any system that would see players pay more money in escrow.

"The owners have signed all these individual contracts and now they want to change the rules so the players don't get what they're supposed to be paid under the contracts," Fehr told The Canadian Press this week. "How do you deal with that? Does a player get to say 'Well, OK, my salary loss was more than I thought it would be, I can leave?'

"Does he have to go to work if they're not going to pay him what they say they were? This is pretty basic stuff here."

The league, meanwhile, is calling for another proposal from the players. The NHLPA tabled its original offer Aug. 14 -- and amended it days before the lockout started at midnight ET on Sept. 15 -- and the NHL believes it's time to see something new.

"We're trying to be as creative as we can be and we want to think of ways to approach the issue," Daly said Tuesday. "But, unless and until we hear from them and they make some movement or show some willingness to compromise I'm not sure how we get this done."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 4, 2012 C4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Home buying

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • A young gosling prepares to eat dandelions on King Edward St Thursday morning-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 17- bonus - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think Ray Rice should be given a lifetime ban from the NFL?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google