The blitz was intense. Powerful pass rushers trying to sack the quarterback that wasn't used to such outside force. In the end, the CRTC evaded the pressure from the United States and Canadians can watch Super Bowl ads on Sunday during Super Bowl LI.
The NFL, Barack Obama’s outgoing trade representative, and U.S. senators Marco Rubio and Ron Johnson, among others, wanted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to overrule the CRTC. Bell Media in Canada, owner of CTV, was part of that pass rush from the start. There was even word this week that the NFL complained to Donald Trump.
We've known this was going to happen since a 2015 CRTC decision to prevent CTV from simultaneous substitution (simsub) of the Super Bowl. For the American protesters, the decision came down before Trudeau was elected prime minister.
CTV will still carry Canadian ads on the Super Bowl LI telecast on Sunday. The difference is that Canadians can tune to the Fox station over-the-air (in limited parts of Canada) or on cable and satellite and get the American ads. Bell Media thinks its CTV ratings will crash as a result. The company referenced the decision in announcing yet more layoffs this week.
Bell Media is upping the ante on the telecast showing the game on CTV, CTV Two, and TSN (information below on possible U.S. markets to view the signals). The company is launching a contest to increase viewership with prizes such as a trip to Super Bowl LII, a 2017 Nissan Titan, and $300,000 in cash prizes. Bell Media is also offering BigGameAds.ca, where Canadians can watch American Super Bowl ads, thereby staying tuned to a Bell Media channel for Super Bowl LI. Full details on the Bell Media coverage can be found here.
Canadians who lived near U.S. stations could pull in TV signals with Super Bowl ads. However, Toronto, Montréal, and Windsor are the only 3 Canadian markets where that is an option. So if you ever read about a Canadian who acts as if all Canadians can do that, good money is on them being from Toronto.
Canada featured prominently in last year's Super Bowl ads. Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogen, Drake, Eugene Levy, Norm Macdonald, and John A. Macdonald (no relation) via the $10 bill appeared in Super Bowl ads in 2016.
The Canadian ads have been criticized as not as exciting as the Super Bowl ads. We've seen Canadian Super Bowl ads in recent years that looked pretty good. Another criticism is that CTV uses the air time to promote its prime time lineup, which is almost exclusively American TV shows.
The Blackberry Super Bowl ad in 2013 was actually more relevant to Canadians since they could get the smartphone 2 days after the Super Bowl. The phone wasn't available in the United States until March.
How Americans can see Canadian Super Bowl ads on CTV
There aren't too many places where Americans can pick up a CTV affiliate over the air or on cable. The following list is not complete but list the more prominent sources for a CTV signal in a U.S. town.
Buffalo, NY — CFTO Toronto
Bellingham, WA — CIVT Vancouver
Champlain Valley — CFCF Montréal
Watertown, NY — CJOH Ottawa or CKWS Kingston
Port Huron, MI — CKCO-TV Sarnia via Kitchener
Sault Ste. Marie, MI — CHBX Sault Ste. Marie
Grand Forks, North Dakota; Fargo ND–Moorhead MN — CKY Winnipeg
Since CTV Two is also carrying the Super Bowl, here are some CTV Two options:
Detroit, MI — CHWI Windsor
Bellingham, WA — CIVI Victoria
Erie, PA — CFPL London
Buffalo, NY — CKVR Barrie
If we missed an active CTV option for those in the United States, please let us know in the comments section.
Logo credit: CTV