Bell Canada and the NFL Seek Supreme Court Appeal Over CRTC’s Super Bowl Ad Decision


Bell Canada and the NFL want the Canadian Supreme Court to overturn the federal broadcast regulator’s decision to allow Canadians to watch American advertisements during the Super Bowl next weekend.

According to a new report from The Globe and Mail, both Bell and the National Football League applied for leave to appeal from the Canadian Supreme Court, just after a Federal Court decision upheld the regulator’s decision to ban the substitution of U.S. TV commercials for Canadian commercials during the championship game.

“The company is seeking leave to appeal a federal court decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, a move that is the latest installment in a three-year saga as BCE Inc.-owned Bell fights a regulatory policy it says has slashed the value of its right to broadcast the National Football League’s championship game in Canada,” reads the report.

In their SCC appeals, Bell and the NFL question whether the CRTC has jurisdiction to make an order targeting a single program under the Broadcasting Act.

Bell also argues that it will suffer massive financial harm if the order is not stayed, and adds that the stay will protect Canadian interests over “the interests of U.S. advertises who stand to benefit the most from the Super Bowl Order.”

The court filings are the latest in a legal battle over the CRTC’s August 2016 decision that banned the practice known as simultaneous substitution, or “simsub.” Bell said the decision cost it $11 million in 2017.

The company and the NFL have asked the court to expedite the process in hopes they’ll be granted leave to appeal and a stay before the big game on February 4.


  • iverge

    I hope the Supreme Court denies even hearing this ridiculous appeal. They have more important and pressing cases to deal with than this nonsense!

  • Jim

    While watching the NFL playoffs I couldn’t help but notice how often CTV returned to the originating broadcast after some meaningless ad (meaningless in so much as they are often programme promos) into the middle of a sentence of some background piece being run.

    For the average football game in the middle of the season I guess I can put up with that but we shouldn’t need to. I’d rather they returned 10 seconds early than 10 seconds late.

    I suppose they could teach us all a lesson (and save a ton of money) by just not buying the game in the first place.

  • CMfly

    Having watched a regular season game in the states it amazed me how much less commercials there were and how much more analysis and replays etc were shown. It would be interesting to see the proper boradcast from time to time. Also the superbowl is not just about football but about the commercials that companies spend millions producing to put on a show within the show for us viewers. I am happy with the crtc’s decision on this and that we as Canadian viewers have the option of which feed we wish to view.

  • erth

    if you notice, TSN is offering a number of monetary things for you to watch their channel instead of the american one. this in itself, shows the market working. before, they would just assume you are watching a simsub and not try to get you to watch and in turn, show you the same shitty 4 commercials for the whole game. i suggest that the crtc make all simsubbing illegal. then, canada will have to try to get us to watch their channels. maybe a lot of good shows will come from them realizing they have to work for our eyes.

  • FragilityG4

    I just worry about how Bell plans to make up the lost revenue…

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    I suggest that if the CRTC wins this appeal to the SCC that they outlaw ALL channel substitutions. In the U.S., you get to see a preview of the next episode at the end of the show. In Canada we are stuck watching garbage station promos or even more commercials.

  • Riley Freeman

    this whole thing is annoying. They have 5 TSNs 5 sportsnets and half the time duplicate stuff are airing. I hope they stick with the decision. We pay for content and they give us shitty content

  • Bill___A

    So let me get this straight. Canadians were allowed to choose whether they watched the Bell feed (with Bell’s commercials) or the American feed with the American commercials. And despite Bell being the Canadian supplier, viewers in Canada chose the other feed in such numbers that it has caused Bell distress….

    It is quite obvious that people want to watch the superbowl commercials and that Bell wants to force Canadians to watch their commercials.

    I have an idea – let’s put an end to the substitution on all programs and let Canadians choose their feed. Maybe it will start a competition (on other shows, not the superbowl) to have Canadian stations make the shows more appealing by having more tasteful commercials and not polluting the screen with advertisements during the show.

    The current model of over the air television has become broken, we get more commercials, as I understand it, channels we could get over the air are getting the cable companies to pay for them….meanwhile they don’t need as much staff at local stations as they once did, entire networks can be run by regional or national control centers, and don’t need a bunch of local technical staff on hand.

  • Riley Freeman

    bell makes tons of money. They are just fine. They just make excuses so they dont have to take the hit out of their own pockets

  • FragilityG4

    They have a ton of money but they want more. They think of their investors. This will be a loss. They will pass it onto the customer. It’s nothing new, it’s business.

  • My 1/2 cents

    We’ll just use Kodi. Pees on the CRTC. They’ll cave in.

  • mcfilmmakers

    Sorry, source not found – kodi

  • Dan

    You’re joking right?

  • Peter


  • FragilityG4

    How so?