The war of the beers

The war of the beers

06 Jun 2013 | Davide Tuniz

How a commercial dispute threats to cancel the hockey in Ceske Budejovice


A strange story of a commercial war between two brands of beer threats to write the word end on one of the most famous Czech club, HC Ceske Budejovice

The confilct began when the Extraliga signs a contract with Radegast beer as main sponsor of Czech top league. 

The new sponsor has requested in the contract that his product is sold without exception into all the Extraliga arenas (in previous years, the O2 Arena in Prague and Ostrava hall had a different beer than the official). But in Ceske Budejovice the City Council previously signed a naming rights contract with local beer Budvar to sponsor the Arena and obviously to exclusively sell Budvar beer inside the building. The City rented the kiosks at the Budvar, who wants to serve its beer. In this case, however, for each match, during which the club violated the rule, it is fined 1 million for each game,."That would be the liquidation for the club" said Vice-Chairman Ivan Drbohlav, who is also the owner of HC Mountfield.

The whole problem could be solved if the brewery became a partner of the Region and the club guaranteed income of at least 13 million. Then, according to the license terms Budvar could serve its beer in the arena. "We would like to take next year in Budvar Arena tapped our beer, but not at any cost and for us and with unacceptable financial conditions" said Budvar's PR manager Petr Samec.

This week HC Ceske Budejovice Charmain Zdenek Blazek and Vice-Chairman Ivan Drbohlav resigned from their positions, hoping that this will help calm the turbulent situation. "I am fully aware of my responsibility for the failure of negotiations between the hockey club on one side and the Municipality of Czech Budejovice and the Budvar on the other. I believe that my resignation will help to calm the situation" said Blazek a statement. He remains general manager of the club.

New Chairman Miroslav Schön has a different approach and his first declarations certainly didn´t help to reach an agreement, as Blazek hoped. “The priority is to keep the club in Ceske Budejovice, but the chances are getting smaller and smaller. It isn´t a secret that relations between the club and the leadership of Czech Budejovice are not good. Virtually every city support its Extraliga club, but we are in a situation where we are a cash cow for the City" saidSchön that  not believes in the beers´war "All the time we mistakenly thought that this is a dispute about beer. The contract between the city and Budvar, however, clearly states that the arena can only tap beer Budvar, no other. So even if we get to rent a buffet in the hall, we would tap Budvar. What was happening was just a mindless comedy. Mr. Thoma (Ceske Budejovice Major) was obviously aware of, yet the comedy played. He used my lack of knowledge. This is not a battle for beer, but for arena."

According to Mr. Schön, the major Thoma want to give priority in th use of arena at the volley team

Last week the news every Pardubice fan not expecting to hear: "To be honest, with the current situation we can´t imagine how to keep a club in the Czech Budejovice”. This statement sounded as provocation to advocate the City, but instead Schönis serious: "We are considering moving the club in Hradec Králové, we already had two meetings with the representatives of City Council and in the next week we should meet again and continue negotiations but the conditions there are very attractive. They talk about the sum of around twenty million and the city will became co-owner of the club. I really like this model.We also wanted a similar one in Ceske Budejovice. We offered the city to purchase fifty percent stakes of the club for one crown but Mayor Thoma didn´t considered the idea. So we are looking for opportunities for mutual cooperation and interaction in the city. Next week´s meeting will be crucial, in which can come only two conclusions. Either yes, it is possible to play ice hockey in Hradec Králové, or it is not. By the end of the week we will be clear on this issue.

So, while fans protest in the city main square, the future of a club with more then 80 years of history is still very unclear.Certainly our will is to keep hockey in Czech Budejovice - said Deputy Mayor Miroslav Joch. – We will have another meeting with Mr. Schön, because we want to see if there is at least a theoretical chance that the willingness prevails” said Joch gutscheincode

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