Bell Aims to Retain Super Bowl Viewers via Contests; NFL Says Trump Aware of Ad Spat

We’re four days away from Super Bowl LI, and the CRTC still appears to have maintained its position on banning “sim-subs” for the game this year, meaning Bell Media will not be able to show Canadian ads overtop the expensive ($5 million USD for a 30 second ad!) American ones most want to see.

Despite lobbying on both sides of the border, no major decision has been made to overturn the CRTC ruling. NFL broadcasting rights in Canada are owned by Bell Media, which will air the game on CTV and TSN.

According to the Financial Post, the NFL has handed off the issue to President Trump, with Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s D.C.-based senior vice president of government affairs, saying “The President is aware. This is on his radar. We are hopeful this will be resolved prior to the Super Bowl.” The NFL said it lobbied Trump’s administration after the latter’s inauguration.

As for Bell Media, the company told the Post it will be “moving forward with plans to protect our audience as much as possible for our advertisers,” according to spokesperson Scott Henderson.

Bell says it will reward those who opt to view their “distinctly Canadian broadcast” on CTV through a variety of contests, which will include an “unprecedented slate of prizes”. After the Super Bowl, CTV will air an ad-free version of popular web series Letterkenny, in another attempt to draw in viewers.

Yesterday, Bell Media announced layoffs nationwide, affecting over 24 locations in radio and television stations, citing the Super Bowl ad issue as the reason, with Henderson saying “There’s definitely been a significant revenue impact from the Super Bowl and other regulatory decisions as well.”

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