The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that it will hear Bell’s appeal of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) decision to let Canadians watch American ads during annual Super Bowl games.
In January, Bell and the NFL filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, arguing that banning the substitution of Canadian ads for American ads (known as simultaneous substitution or simsub) has a negative impact on Canadian viewers, advertisers and other parties.
“The court is of the view that these appeals provide an opportunity to consider the nature and scope of judicial review of administrative action,” the Supreme Court of Canada said in documents released on May 10th, 2018.
Bell made the appeals following a 39 percent decrease in Canadian Super Bowl viewership from 2016 to 2017, following the CRTC amending simsub legislation in August 2016.
While viewership only dropped .02 million viewers in 2018, this still represented a continuing decrease from the 7.32 million Canadians who watched the game in 2016, prior to simsub being repealed.
While Canadian broadcasters were reportedly bringing in $250 million CAD annually from simsub, the CRTC argued that the repeal was intended to benefit consumers, citing many complaints from Canadians missing out on the popular, big-budget ads the Super Bowl is known for.
“We are pleased the Supreme Court will hear the appeal and we look forward to advancing our argument that a broad range of Canadian creators, producers, advertisers, and businesses have been negatively impacted by the original decision,” Scott Henderson, vice president of communications for Bell Media, said to BNN of the Supreme Court’s latest decision.