Link: Super Bowl Ad Challenge – Too Challenging for Canadians? – UPDATED [Sportscaster]

Here’s my first ever piece for Sportscaster magazine. Funnily enough, news broke that the CRTC decided to prohibit simultaneous substitution for the Super Bowl, starting with the one in 2017, just after this was posted. I also tried to reach out to Bell Media and the CMA for this story, but I wasn’t able to get an interview, unfortunately. 

Sportscaster magazine (logo via

Sportscaster magazine (logo via

With the hours counting down until Super Bowl XLIX, hype isn’t just building for the game itself, but for the lavish and ambitious ads that will air alongside it.

U.S. TV advertisers are again moving the yardsticks, with reports that thirty-second spots are selling for as much as $4.5 million, and overall sales are generally ahead of those of previous years.

As is often the case, if you’re watching the game in Canada, however, chances are you won’t be able to catch many of the hyped ads during the Super Bowl.

Blame can be placed on the practice of simultaneous substitution (or signal substitution), where cable and satellite providers put a simulcast of a Canadian broadcast (including ads) in place of an American one that’s airing the same program at the same time. It’s a common practice, but it gets particular attention around the Super Bowl as the game’s ads are highly anticipated.

(In a bit of related, late-breaking news, Canada’s broadcast regulator, the CRTC, is now saying it will be prohibiting simultaneous substitution for the Super Bowl starting at the end of the 2016 NFL season, i.e. Super Bowl 2017.)

To settle gripes from viewers about the practice, Bell Media, the corporate parent of CTV, the broadcaster that will air the Super Bowl this year, attempted to replicate the American Super Bowl ad hype this side of the border with their Super Bowl Canadian Ad Challenge.

The call to action came loud and clear: Canadians deserve better Super Bowl ads.

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(Featured Image via Bell Media)