Bell Media and NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad policy to Supreme Court

TORONTO — Bell Canada and the National Football League applied earlier this month to have the Supreme Court of Canada overturn a regulatory decision to ban substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the Super Bowl.

Documents filed Jan. 2 show that the media company and the NFL submitted an application to the Supreme Court to appeal the CRTC decision that was upheld by a Federal Court of Appeal in late December.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced the ban on simultaneous substitution of Canadian advertising over American broadcasts in 2015, but it took effect during 2017’s game.

Justice David G. Near wrote in a judgement delivered Dec. 18 that there is a certain irony that legislation with an objective to protect the Canadian broadcasting industry is being used to allow for the broadcasting of American ads during the Super Bowl to the apparent detriment of the industry.

Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson said in an email at the time that the company hoped the CRTC will take a close look at the clear impact of its decision on Canadian broadcasting.

In August, Bell asked the CRTC to re-consider its decision, claiming its advertising revenues dropped by $11 million and it lost 40 per cent of its audience for the football game.

Henderson declined to provide comment on the Supreme Court appeal application.

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