NHL Serves Up QSR Tim Hortons As Title Sponsor For 2011 Heritage Classic

By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor

December 9, 2010: The NHL said that Tim Hortons, one of the largest QSR chains in North America, has signed a deal to become title sponsor of the outdoor Heritage Classic, which will be played in Calgary, Canada, on Feb. 20, 2011.

The deal is part of a larger multi-year partnership with the NHL under which Tim Hortons becomes the official coffee, donut and breakfast QSR of the league in Canada. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of its title sponsorship, Tim Hortons will get prominent on-ice brand position; on-air title broadcast rights with the CBC, including branded pre-promotion; and integration of the Tim Hortons brand throughout all NHL media properties, such as, NHL Network and NHL Radio. The company also has secured rights to use league marks for in-store promotion and on collectible Tim Cards.

The Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic will include on-ice events prior to the day of the game as well as a fan-centric destination. Among the league partners expected to activate for the game are LG Electronics, Labatt, ScotiaBank, Bell, Canadian Tire, Cisco,  Energizer, Kraft Canada and Hershey Canada, the majority of whom have deals with the NHL exclusive to Canada.

The Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic will be the third crown jewel event of the 2010-11 season, following the outdoor Bridgestone Wiinter Classic on Jan. 1, 2011 at Heinz Field, home of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, between the Washington Capitals and the host Pittsburgh Penguins; and the NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover on Jan. 30 at RBC Center, home of the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic will see the Montreal Canadiens face the hometown Calgary Flames in McMahon Stadium, which is home to the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders and also was the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympics.This will be the second Canadian-based Heritage Classic in league history. The Molson Canada Heritage Classic was played in 2003 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

CBC and RDS will carry the game in Canada; CBC said it would air the game in 3D in addition to standard 2D. Versus will telecast the outdoor match in the U.S. NHL Radio will have the live action across North America. NHL Network will provide pre- and post-game programming. will provide extensive digital coverage.

“We’re proud to be the title sponsor of the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic and help bring the time-honored tradition of outdoor NHL hockey back to Canada,” Bill Moir, chief brand marketing officer for Tim Hortons, said in a statement. “Tim Hortons has a special connection with hockey, from our company founder to our ongoing support for hockey programs at all levels. Partnering with the NHL, home to the world’s best players, is a natural fit and we look forward to this multi-year, multi-dimensional relationship.”

Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by  NHL Hall of Famer Tim Horton, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. The company now has 3,649 systemwide restaurants, including 3,082 in Canada and 567 in the U.S, per the company, serving about two billion cups of coffee a year. Tim Hortons is a partner of several NHL teams, including the Maple Leafs, Penguins, Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks. The QSR also has a marketing deal with NHL all-star Sidney Crosby, as well as with the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NBA's Detroit Pistons.

"We're proud to have Tim Hortons for the Heritage Classic to create new memories and be part of what will undoubtedly become another great day for hockey.”

“For many Canadians, Tim Hortons is a fond part of their hockey memories, whether they routinely stop by one of their restaurants before 6 A.M. practices, or participated in the Timbits hockey program, as several NHL players— including Sidney Crosby — did,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL svp-integrated sales. “We are proud to have Tim Hortons on board for the Heritage Classic to create new memories and be part of what will undoubtedly become another great day for hockey.”

The NHL has not revealed where the 2012 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic would be played.

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