Sportscaster Magazine


Will PM Help Bell Media Play the Super Bowl?

Will PM Help Bell Media Play the Super Bowl?

Bell Media is back in court to fight a decision banning ‘simsub’, the substitution of Canadian ads for American ones during the Super Bowl.

Bell Media, owner of the CTV television network which holds the broadcast rights in Canada, has filed appeal notices against a recent court ruling upholding the ban.

The NFL itself is also fighting the decision. Bell and the NFL want the CRTC decision to be set aside by the courts, arguing that the ban contravenes the Copyright Act. The fact the the Super Bowl was singled out in the CRTC decision is also cited in the appeal.

Reports say the appellants are also hoping Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will intervene before the case is heard.

“Today’s submission is just the latest procedure in an ongoing legal process,” Bell Media said in a statement to the Canadian Press.

“But there is a growing community of voices highlighting the negative impact of this decision on the Canadian creative and broadcasting industry.”

Canada’s broadcast and telecom regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, decided that simultaneous substitution of Canadian spots over American ads played during the Super Bowl would not be allowed, citing complaints from Canadian viewers who wanted to see the top draw U.S. commercials.

The CRTC’s decision was to take place for the next NFL championship game, scheduled for February 5, 2017.

The matter has been kicked down the field before, when the Federal Court of Appeal allowed an appeal of an earlier court decision upholding the ban, but denied a stay of the ruling until the case could be heard.

U.S. and Canadian politicians have also become embroiled in the case, making public statements and writing letters to protest the decision.