During the Super Bowl in 2017, Canadian fans were able to watch American ads on U.S. networks airing the football game in Canada.
However, a 2019 Supreme Court decision overruled the CRTC in a 7-2 ruling, favouring Bell Media, which has exclusive broadcast rights to the Super Bowl in Canada. This means American broadcaster FOX will show Canadian ads during the Super Bowl in 2020, instead of highly-anticipated (and expensive) American ones on broadcaster FOX, in a process known as simultaneous substitution, or ‘sim-sub’.
At the time of the ruling last month, Bell Media said, “We’re happy the issue has finally been resolved,” according to Scott Henderson, Vice President of Communications, adding “We thank our partners at the NFL for their ongoing support.”
According to the CRTC, “American ads might also be aired on Canadian channels that hold the broadcasting rights as US companies can buy advertising time in Canada for this highly watched sporting event.”
The reasons for ‘sim-sub’ in Canada? Broadcasters argue it protects their exclusive rights which have been paid for and also keeps advertising dollars in Canada.
What to do to watch American ads? The CRTC says, “For those interested in watching the American ads, most of them are already available to be viewed online.”
Back in the fall of 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump took credit for bringing Canadian ads back to the Super Bowl, as part of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is set to be ratified in Canada.
Last year, the CRTC said Canadians could watch American Super Bowl ads by tuning into CBS, but that won’t be the case this year.