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Canada Cannabis News: BioSteel creditors list shows pro teams, leagues and athletes owed millions


The list of creditors to insolvent sports drink company BioSteel is a high-profile lineup of companies small and large, with the heart of the order featuring prominent pro sports franchises, leagues and superstars, collectively owed millions.

Court filings for BioSteel, which was put into creditor protection by its owner last week, show the Canadian company owes more than $400 million to various entities in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Since being founded by entrepreneur John Celenza and NHL player Mike Cammalleri in 2009, the company has grown quickly by working closely with branding, sponsorship and marketing partnerships with a slew of pro athletes.

While those deals helped boost sales, they came with expensive price tags attached that far outweighed the revenue bump.

In the three months up to the end of March, the company sold $24 million worth of product, court filings show. But those sales cost the company more than they took in, with $34 million in sales and marketing expenses, and another $34 million on advertising and promotion.

In addition to BioSteel’s parent company, cannabis giant Canopy Growth, hundreds of companies that did business with BioSteel are owed more than $45 million as unsecured creditors, according to the court filings.

It’s a list that includes NBA franchises the Philadelphia 76ers, the Brooklyn Nets, the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. The first two teams are owed roughly $300,000 each, while the Heat is owed almost $1 million, and the Lakers, $2.5 million.

The corporate parent of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes is on the hook for more than $95,000, along with the hockey league itself, which is owed more than $8.7 million. A separate filing shows BioSteel has a $12-million payment due on its NHL sponsorship next month — a payment the company has no intention of making.

The U.S. Soccer Federation is owed more than $675,000. Canadian sports broadcaster TSN is owed more than $100,000, while Rogers Media is owed more than $428,000.

While BioSteel has a bevy of professional athletes in its stable of partnerships, so far, very few of them have been listed as creditors, although the court monitor overseeing the insolvency proceedings notes that the list is only preliminary — and it wouldn’t include anyone with an equity stake in the company.

A charity associated with Kansas City’s NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes is owed more than $26,000. And Wiggins Enterprise Inc., an investment firm backed by Canadian NBA superstar Andrew Wiggins, is owed more than $658,000.

Ex-NHLer Mike Cammalleri, who co-founded the company, is listed as being owed $12,000. And the wife of former NHLer Brian McGrattan is owed more than $1,300.

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