Bacardi is learning that you don’t want to mess with the New England Patriots – on or off the field. The Boston Globe is reporting that the rum giant backed out of a 10-year, multimillion dollar exclusive sponsorship agreement with the football team and the Patriots are fighting back by suing Bacardi for breach of contract.

The partnership began to gain traction last July when Barcardi and the Patriots signed a marketing agreement that included advertising at the stadium and on Patriots websites and broadcasts, along with tickets to home and away games during the 2012 season. Then, that fall, they began to think even bigger and started discussing the construction of a 20,000 square foot pavilion – Casa Bacardi – between the north end of Gillette Stadium and the CBS Scene restaurant. The plan was for Casa Bacardi to be a freestanding, two-story structure with a 16,000 square foot main level and a 4,000 square foot mezzanine. There would have been three bars, an industrial size kitchen, and enough seating for 500 people. Jonathan Kraft, president of the Patriots, saw it as being a year-round attraction and trendsetter for the NFL.

Fast forward to April 15 of this year, and Bacardi contacted the Patriots to let them know that they were going to walk away from the proposed deal. They said that “inner turmoil” at their company had resulted in the change. Before that, everything was on track to begin construction in the spring and have everything ready by September when the new football season started.

The Patriots filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court this week and they are accusing Bacardi of bad-faith negotiations. They claim they wasted a great deal of time and money; the Patriots had already hired architectural and engineering firms and included Bacardi in multiple redesigns. The Patriots even chose to stop soliciting sponsorships from other spirit companies, potentially missing out on some serious revenue. A formal marketing agreement, however, was never signed and Bacardi is saying that they completely disagree with the lawsuit.

We feel for the Patriots and think what Bacardi did was pretty sketchy, but at the end of the day, no contracts were signed. You would think a franchise as big as the Patriots would know that you all need to sign on the dotted line before putting so much effort and money into a project. Better luck next time?