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RSS FeedsAdvertiser pressure was likely a factor in Don Cherry´s firing, say experts
(The Star Toronto Raptors)


13 november 2019 11:45:03

Advertiser pressure was likely a factor in Don Cherry´s firing, say experts
(The Star Toronto Raptors)

While Don Cherry’s firing might have been couched in moral terms, it was likely more of a cold, hard business decision based on dollars and cents.Simply put, say marketing experts, the long-time Coach’s Corner commentator’s angry on-air shtick was no longer worth the risk for sponsors such as Labatt, which shells out millions of dollars a year to have Budweiser front and centre on the broadcasts. And with Sportsnet already on a cost-cutting binge partly because of the price of its $5.2 billion broadcast contract with the NHL, the network could ill afford to upset a major sponsor.“There comes a point when it pisses off substantial numbers of viewers. And it also pisses off the sponsors. They worry that consumers may associate them with whatever’s been said,” said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business.Younger consumers, particularly the ones beer companies are increasingly struggling to hold onto, are more likely to make purchasing decisions based on what they see as a brand’s values, Middleton said.“Especially for the beer companies, they’re concerned with the younger group. This generation is far more sensitive to brand associations and values,” said Middleton.Cherry’s Saturday night rant about “you people” not wearing poppies to honour Canadian veterans was likely the “last straw” for both Sportsnet and title sponsor Labatt, said David Kincaid, CEO of Level5 brand marketing. Kincaid, a former senior marketing executive with Labatt who negotiated the brewery’s first sponsorship deal with “Hockey Night in Canada” in the mid-90s when it was still on CBC, said the brewery likely wouldn’t have had the authority to fire Cherry. But, Kincaid said, they may have put pressure on the broadcaster for disciplinary action.“The sponsor really wouldn’t be able to directly say ‘get rid of him, ...

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