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NHL seeks new all-star partner after Nortel opts out as sponsor

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  • billbarr@earthlink.net
    August 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,
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2001
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      August 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      past three months, including 6,000 in the Ottawa area, has withdrawn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
      improves.

      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
      season.

      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.
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