NFL Wants Say in Bell’s Court Battle vs CRTC Over Super Bowl Ads


The NFL wants the chance to explain in court why the CRTC’s ban on Super Bowl simsubs starting in 2017 is a bad idea, in an attempt to support its Canadian broadcast partner Bell Media.

The Financial Post reports the league filed documents with the Federal Court of Appeal this week, to seek intervenor status in Bell’s appeal of the CRTC decision to ban the practice of swapping American ads with Canadian ones during the televised event, which was seen in part by at least 19.3 million viewers in Canada last year.

The documents cite the CRTC “lacked an intelligible justification” by focusing on the Super Bowl in banning simsubs, and questioned why other high rated shows like the Oscars aren’t part of the ruling as well:

“The CRTC lacked an intelligible justification to single out the Super Bowl,” the NFL’s motion said. “It treated the Super Bowl as a separate class of programming unto itself, for which U.S. advertising is ‘integral,’ without any justification for why U.S. advertising is not also integral to other League games or other highly rated American programs such as the Oscars.”

The league says the ban on simsubs may cause lost revenue from Canadian broadcasters that may be interested in buying rights to the game, as competition with American TV signals will now be in the mix.

The NFL says the CRTC is wrong in assuming American ads are part of the Super Bowl, as the league noted ads also are different in the U.S. during the game in various regions of the country. The Super Bowl should be treated no differently than any other game:

“The Super Bowl championship game is the culmination of a full season of League football games played over the course of six months,” the NFL said in the motion. “It is not a stand-alone event like a movie, but is more analogous to the ‘season finale’ of a television series.”

The CRTC made the decision to ban Super Bowl simsubs starting in 2017, back in January. After the decision was made, Bell requested close door meetings to discuss the decision, which the latter denied. Bell filed a motion to appeal the CRTC ruling back in March, and noted the ruling “impairs Bell Media’s rights and interests.”

Do you care whether you’re watching American or Canadian Super Bowl ads during the game? If simsubs are banned, you may no longer need to hit up YouTube to watch the most popular and expensive ads.


  • Parksy

    As a cable subscriber, I couldn’t care less if CTV carried this or any other shows. I can simply watch it on the US broadcaster who is producing it. Problem solved. CTV doesn’t spend millions to acquire the rights to air it and I still get to watch the game like ours neighbours to the south.

  • poopchute

    I don’t think you understand what sim-subbing is.

  • dke850

    This is the very point! You (We) are not getting “to watch the game like our neighbors to the south.” We are “honoured” with Canadian commercials. You want Canadian commercials, watch a Canadian TV station. You want US commercials, then watch a US station. We are paying a high price for cable TV, we should get to watch it.

  • Tim M

    simsubbing is when a Canadian broadcaster, takes their signal of any particular program and inserts it over an American channel that is showing the same program.

  • CMfly

    Sorry NFL, maybe for fans of the sport it is like a season finale, but for 17 or those 19 million we are tuning in for the big show, and that includes the commercials. You just know the NFL is telling the broadcasters and commercial companies “Look Canadians want american commercials so pay us more!!” and then pretending to be on Bell’s side saying now worries buddy keep paying us the big bucks!