We know the Canadian TV ratings for Super Bowl LI took a 39% plunge, but what does that mean for the CRTC no Super Bowl simsub experiment?
Super Bowl 50 only on CTV drew 7.32 million while Super Bowl LI on CTV, CTV Two, and TSN drew 4.47 million. By contrast, RDS drew comparable numbers to last year.
Each Super Bowl is different: this year, Atlanta jumped out to a huge lead so some viewers could have tuned out. Then again, based on my Twitter feed, some people tuned to CTV out of habit being unaware that they had a choice.
Bell Media also responded to the online concerns about the error message people were getting when they entered the contest designed to keep Canadians watching the Canadian feed. Bell Media said when replies were delayed, the incorrect message would go out. The company says those people were registered for the contest.
I wanted to wait until the numbers to weigh in on this topic. Until now, speculation has ruled and I prefer to work from facts.
As much as I mocked the people (outside Bell Media) for their pressure on the Trudeau Government, their overall principle is valid. Simultaneous subbing is how the system works and there isn't a true, valid reason to make an exception. However, this only affects the NFL and Bell Media. Any other player is only objecting from the slippery slope concept. No other program in North America generates this level of excitement for commercials. Whichever program is second is light years from the Super Bowl. You are only embarrassing yourself if you think otherwise.
Bell Media lost 2.85 million viewers last night if we make everything even. While I have not watched a Canadian-ads filled Super Bowl, everyone I have ever spoken to or heard from mocks the lame Canadian ads, the repetition of Canadian Tire ads, and the endless Bell Media promos. That sounds way better than what the NHL Network runs during their simsubs of Hockey Night in Canada, though we have gone more than 50 days since the channel carried a Hockey Night in Canada game.
We also hear complaints that CTV doesn't know how to get back to NFL games in a timely pace. CTV and Canadian companies have to work harder to get those 2.85 million back. You don't need a huge budget to produce a quality Super Bowl ad. U.S. companies use the Super Bowl to launch, promote, or reinforce. Are Canadian companies doing the same? Are they actively running ads with a purpose? A smart company can take advantage; if the lack of simsub continues, over time Canadian companies can adapt. Hopefully, they will respond to the challenge.
I don't want to just pick on CTV, since Global and City TV also simsub U.S. programming on a regular basis. Are you serving your TV audience or is money more important?
The NFL is fully aware that a lack of simsub will reduce the economic impact of the league's deal in Canada. The NFL would rather have the money. The league is also aware that Bell Media is the best option for the league in Canada, so a future deal with Bell Media will be affected by any losses the company suffered as a result. Global doesn't have a cable option. Rogers has part of the NFL package but with the NHL deal, Rogers can't cover Sundays the way Bell Media can. If Bell Media gets concessions, their losses will get smaller.
CTV, NFL, and Canadian companies have to work within the rules as they are, unless the rules are changed again. Let's see what happens.
This was Chris Berman's swan song at ESPN. Berman will have a much-reduced role at the network. He will give up hosting Sunday NFL Countdown, the NFL Draft, and Monday Night Countdown, among other duties. Berman will be a panelist on the latter show.
Chris Berman has been a champion of the CFL on ESPN showing Grey Cup highlights over the years on ESPN. And not just showing the highlights, we've seen him with an Anthony Calvillo Montréal Alouettes jersey on the set. When Calvillo was close to passing the all-time passing yards mark in football, Berman honoured him on the 2-Minute Drill.
Chris Berman finally attended his first CFL game live at the opening of Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day 2014. Berman and fellow ESPN colleague (and Canadian) John Saunders helped out Rod Black and Duane Forde with the play-by-play on TSN. Saunders, who passed away in 2016, helped Berman with the way to say certain words in Canada.
Berman's other claim to fame involving Canada is a 2007 videotape of Berman, while hosting the halftime of Monday Night Football, admitting to being on TV with 4 deux deux deux deux, or acetaminophen with 8 mg of codeine. On the video, recording while the program was not on the air, Berman goes through the explanation of how Americans can get the codeine. He implies in the video that he bought the 250 pill bottle, stuffing 4 of them in a suitcase. The potential 1,000 tablets far exceeds the 50 tables per person per 30 days that is legally allowed in the United States.
As Berman put it so well on the tape, "You always hope to have one Blue Jay(s) game a year."
We know Chris Berman isn't completely leaving ESPN, but this is a good time to give him some love for his love for Canada, over the counter and otherwise.
photos credit: CTV; ESPN
videos credit: YouTube/Shawntavius Caesar; YouTube/Northwest57