NHL Lockout Has Kraft Canada Shifting TV Ad Dollars to Junior Hockey

2012 NHL Winter Classic Action Shot - P

The food giant has pacted with cable sports channel TSN to promote minor hockey with $1 million in prizes as the pro league continues its players lockout.

TORONTO – The on-going NHL lockout has league sponsors shifting ad dollars to junior hockey.

Kraft Canada last month canceled its 2013 Hockeyville program on the CBC due to the NHL work stoppage.

The Canadian food giant on Tuesday said it has pacted with cable sports channel TSN to give $1 million to Canadian minor hockey associations as part of its Kraft Hockey Goes On program.

The new partnership will launch on January 5 during TSN and Quebec counterpart RDS' pre-game show for the IIHF world junior hockey championship.

The new Kraft marketing blitz will be promoted across all TSN and RDS media platforms.

For TSN, Kraft Hockey Goes On helps a major NHL marketer get ad dollars back on the TV screen as the continuing labor strife reduces brand exposure during league games.

“Now, more than ever, it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the game and say ‘thank you’ to some of the thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to ensure that hockey goes on,” TSN president Stewart Johnston said in a statement Tuesday.

Other Canadian NHL sponsors are also scrambling to make up for lost sponsorship during the lockout of league players.

Molson Coors, a major NHL sponsor, last month complained that the league’s work stoppage had impacted Canadian beer sales.

The NHL on Monday said it was canceling league games to December 30 after so far failing to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with league players.