NHL seeks new all-star partner after Nortel opts out as sponsor
- View SourceAugust 1, 2001
By KEN WARREN
The Ottawa Citizen
The National Hockey League is feeling the impact of the collapse of
the technology industry.
Nortel Networks, which lost $19.4 billion U.S. in the past business
quarter and has announced the loss of 30,000 jobs worldwide in the
past three months, including 6,000 in the Ottawa area, has withdrawn
as title sponsor for the annual NHL All-Star Game.
Nortel sponsored the NHL's showcase event in 2000 in Toronto and last
February in Denver, spending more than $1 million annually as the
main sponsor in addition to a modest annual rights fee and a
commitment to advertise on national broadcasts in the United States.
Nortel has also been a sponsor of the league in the
telecommunications hardware department since 1998.
Despite the loss of Nortel, the NHL is optimistic the technology
giant -- the world's biggest telecommunications equipment maker last
year -- will jump back on board if the company's financial picture
improves. Since July 2000, Nortel has fallen from a peak of 124.50 on
the Toronto Stock Exchange to yesterday's close of 12.29.
"It was such a terrific partnership," said Bernadette Mansur, NHL
Group vice-president of communications. "(Nortel) received such a
terrific benefit from (the all-star game in) Toronto, that they
stayed on in Denver. I know they felt very badly (about dropping
out), but we certainly understand this. It's incredible, really, what
has happened to the company. Life goes on."
Mansur says Nortel will be welcomed back if its financial picture
For now, Mansur is attempting to find new sponsors to back the 2002
All-Star Game at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, suggesting the
area's demographics present new opportunities. Anheiser-Busch could
be involved, she said.
In addition to losing Nortel as a sponsor, IBM Corp. and Wendy's
opted not to renew their sponsorships with the NHL for the 2001-02
DaimlerChrysler has re-signed as a sponsor for three seasons, while
Southwest Airlines and Nextel Communications have been added.
In addition to working with the NHL, Nortel is also one of the Ottawa
Senators' largest sponsors in and around the Corel Centre.