redleaf Expand Sponsorship Deal With Calgary Flames

courtesy of redleaf water's facebook fan page

The National Hockey League’s Calgary Flames franchise and the Saddledome has signed a supplier contract with redleaf waters.  “Redleaf Water is a natural fit within our organization,” says Jim Bagshaw, VP marketing of the Calgary Flames Limited Partnership. “We’re proud to be supporting our fellow Canadians, while serving ultra-premium water to our players and fans.”

Already available at the Saddledome the past two years, redleaf now becomes the only water available for sale within the venue for customers.  The expanded agreement gives redleaf more exposure within the hockey arena, with redleaf signage and logos displayed on the score clock, video board, and behind the opponent’s hockey bench as well as being mentioned as the scoring summary sponsor for the end of period annoucements.

redleaf claims they are a ultra premium water supplier because of their purification process, but I fail to fully understand how their process distinguishes them from many other players.  The only interesting fact that jumps out is their pH factor of 8.3. Distilled water has a pH factor of 7.0 and redleaf’s water adds more oxygen content to bring up the pH levels.  Their claim is that tap water and other bottled waters have a lower pH level (closer to the 7.0), but 8.3 makes the water more basic, or turns it into hard water.  In that case, what’s the point?  Consumers faced with hard water use a softener to make the water return closer to a 7.0 pH level.

Aside from the pH level, I more interested about the other non-alcoholic beverage operator for the Calgary franchise and arena.  This other sponsor could very well be Coca-Cola (seeing that the Saddledome website has a picture of a family drinking a Coca-Cola beverage) and they produce Dasani and glaceau smartwater.  Sporting venues are typically exclusive operators for one beverage company to maintain higher profits and limit competition, and the contract should call for exclusivity with all beverages that the operator can provide.  If this is the case, how is redleaf able to circumvent exclusivity?  It is possible the contract is proportioned to section out water, carbonated soft drinks, sports beverages, energy drinks and so on, but wouldn’t Coca-Cola want to maintain exclusivity for all beverages?  If water is a different supplier, what about energy drinks (anyone know if Red Bull is available instead of Monster or Full Throttle)?  A sectioned out contract that leaves each beverage category separate for bidding is indeed a smart move for the Calgary hockey team and arena, but this may raise issues where pricing is concerned.  If no particular company holds sole operator privileges, why provide them with the best possible price?


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