NFL backs Bell, asks CRTC to keep Super Bowl ads Canadian


The NFL has sent a letter to Canada’s ambassador to the United States promoting the use of Canadian ads during the Super Bowl. The CRTC released a policy banning substitution of American ads for Canadian ads (known as simultaneous substitution or simsub) during the big game in January 2015, but gave Bell until the the 2017 Super Bowl to enact the decision. Bell was granted leave to appeal that decision in early November 2016.

The policy was initially crafted in response to Canadian consumer demand for American Super Bowl commercials, which have grown to become a cultural phenomenon in and of themselves. The NFL, however, sees the banning of simultaneous substitution as harmful for the entire Canadian media industry.

“The long-standing practice of simultaneous substitution is a critical enabler for development and sustainability of Canadian content,” NFL Canada Managing Director David Thomson writes in a November 23rd letter that was recently reported on by The Globe and Mail.

“Advertising revenue generated by the broadcast industry through simultaneous substitution is a primary source of funding for broadcasters to invest in the development, creation, production and distribution of Canadian content.”

The Super Bowl is typically Canada’s largest TV event, with an average of 9 million viewers tuning in every year. While there are no public numbers when it comes to how much Bell makes off of simsub ad space during the Super Bowl, The Globe and Mail reports that Bell makes $250 million per year from simsub in total, with millions coming from that event alone.

The publication also previously reported that Bell may be in the awkward position of reneging on ad space it prematurely sold if its appeal is not successful previous to the impending game.

Related: Bell wins right to appeal CRTC decision that forces it to air American Super Bowl commercials

[source]The Globe and Mail[/source]