CTV hopes $300,000 in prizes will keep Canadians on its Super Bowl feed

Bell Media has had two years to prepare for the implementation of the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution decision. Now, with a little more than a week to go until Super Bowl LI, the first that will be exempt from simsub, CTV has announced how it will try to keep Canadians glued to its feed instead of switching to Fox for the U.S. commercials:

  • Prizes. The headliner is $300,000 in cash prizes (including the $150,000 grand prize), plus a 2017 Nissan Titan and tickets to the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis. During the broadcast, “hosted by TSN’s Kate Beirness and Tessa Bonhomme, who will reveal the winning keyword for each prize. To be entered into each draw, fans can simply text the winning keyword along with their name and city.” Obviously, this will only be available on the Canadian feed.
  • Pregame and postgame shows. The CRTC has clarified that the simsub rule exemption applies only during the game itself. The hours and hours of pregame shows will be simsubbed, as will a half-hour postgame show featuring the awarding of the Vince Lombardi trophy. This means that CTV, rather than rushing to start an hour-long drama at 10pm when the game is just ending, will stick with the postgame broadcast for half an hour and have a smoother transition.
  • More channels. In addition to CTV, the game will also be broadcast on CTV Two and TSN. This isn’t really necessary, since few Canadians have access to CTV Two or TSN but not CTV, but putting the Super Bowl on these other channels increases the chances that someone picking a channel randomly from their guide will stumble on a Bell-controlled Canadian feed rather than a U.S. Fox affiliate. The game will also be streamed online on CTV.ca and CTV Go. That online rebroadcast is not regulated by the CRTC, and there will be no (legal) way to watch a Fox station online in Canada.
  • Letterkenny. Rather than an hour-long drama at 10pm, CTV will air, for the first time on regular television, the first episode of the Crave TV original comedy series Letterkenny, commercial-free, at 10:30pm after the postgame show. (Because the series has really coarse language, CTV is going to delay the airings in the Mountain and Pacific time zones so they air at 10:30pm local time instead of just after the game.) Fox is airing 24: Legacy, whose Canadian rights are held by City TV. CTV has, to their credit, been using the coveted post-Super Bowl spot about half the time to showcase original Canadian series. Here are CTV’s Super Bowl leadout shows since it won the rights in 2007 (2010 was the only case in which CTV also aired the program the U.S. Super Bowl broadcaster followed up the game with):
    • 2008: Nip/Tuck (U.S.)
    • 2009: The Mentalist (U.S.)
    • 2010: Undercover Boss (U.S.)*
    • 2011: Flashpoint (Canada)
    • 2012: The Voice (U.S.)
    • 2013: Motive (Canada)
    • 2014: Masterchef Canada
    • 2015: Masterchef Canada
    • 2016: Legends of Tomorrow (U.S.)
  • Pushing pre-viewing of U.S. ads. CTV is encouraging Canadians to visit BigGameAds.ca to watch “all the latest American SUPER BOWL ads.” That sounds like an interesting project until you learn that the page is just a redirect to an unaffiliated website that is embedding YouTube videos of some ads. Other ads haven’t been released yet, and in some cases we’re only going to see trailers for ads until they actually air live. A redirect to YouTube’s AdBlitz channel might have made more sense.

One thing that wasn’t announced is anything special about the Canadian ads themselves. Bell says it has spots from Nissan, Coca-Cola, The Keg, Mazda, Scotiabank, Subway, Sun Life Financial and Tim Hortons, and no doubt some of them will have put decent money into those ads, but Tim Hortons isn’t exactly Budweiser.

Will the contest and other measures be enough? No. But maybe CTV won’t lose as many viewers to Fox as it had worried it would. And if it keeps most of its viewers, the Super Bowl on CTV could easily remain the most watched television program of the year in Canada.

Super Bowl LI airs Sunday, Feb. 5 at 6:30pm on CTV, CTV Two, TSN, RDS and Fox, the latter with American commercials between kickoff and the end of the game.


22 thoughts on “CTV hopes $300,000 in prizes will keep Canadians on its Super Bowl feed

  1. Zeke


    Tim Horton’s is not as far off from Budweiser as you might think. The market cap for Restaurant Brands International is $11.55 billion. The market cap for Anheuser-Busch Inbev is $202.67 billion.

    They both can afford a whole bunch of Super Bowl ads if they so choose.

  2. J

    For me it’s a no choice situation. I use OTA, but unlike the majority of the Burlington-Platssburgh stations that I do receive with the antenna, WFFF (FOX), and WVNY (ABC) do not come in in my area. So, it looks like it’ll be CFCF (CTV) this year for me.

  3. Steve DeGraaf

    Definitely watching Fox. Have so had enough of the bullshit ads created for Canadian viewing. No creativity at all. Small budget means terrible commercials. Nissan’s ads are a complete joke.

  4. Anonymous

    we will be watching ctv for our home town girl Tessa Bonhomme she does an amazing job on tsn we wish Tessa all the best from Sudbury

  5. Mimo

    I’ll be watching Fox. Bell Satellite better not try and sneak a sim-sub overtop of it, as I fear they might. We’ll be seeing the same 6 ads we’ve been seeing since September on CTV, and I feel like this is a bribe to keep the viewers. Flooding the dial with simulcasts on 3 networks is a pretty sneaky way (toungue in cheek) of luring viewers away from Fox. I’d rather see what the rest of the world sees.

  6. Steve

    This contest is rigged. Despite testing immediately…I mean within seconds they say they did not receive my text within the 10 MINUTE time limit……BS I say

  7. Brent Freiburger

    I started watching the Canadian feed but after my first two texts for the contests that I sent within minutes of the notice to do so both can back saying I submitted it too late I switched to Fox.

  8. Catherine

    Both my husband and I entered for the first two prizes. Received messages saying we were outside of the contest time period before the time periods were even over. Anybody else having this issue? Not impressed

  9. Awk Omo

    I sent my text message soon as they opened it up and minutes later I got a response saying I was outside the window! WTH

  10. Robert Scarborough

    Thanks, unfortunately your entry was received outside the contest entry time period. Full rules: ctv.ca/superbowlcontest Std Msg&Data Rates Apply

    Text sent within seconds of start of 10 minute window. But sent via Rogers network. I smell a fix.

  11. Brian Smyth

    CTV contest really had the attention of my wife and I; disappointed with texts we sent immediately that received no response – system couldn’t handle the text volume? Emails sent also did not gain a reply, so this was frustrating, also. One of my email messages may not have gotten through since it had my signature/address in it and could be void according to the rules of the contest. Great contest idea, but things felt frustrating.

  12. Elizabeth Craig

    I sent my entry in about one minute after it aired on TV and got a reply back saying I was out the contest time limit…..so did not qualify…..that’s crap

  13. Sunlover

    The contest was a good idea and definitely influenced my decision to stick with CTV. However, I feel like we were duped and have serious doubts about the validity of the entries and how the “winners” were actually picked. Fool me once, but next time I’ll stick with the feed with the US ads.

  14. Pingback: Analysis: Comparing Super Bowl ads on CTV and FOX | Fagstein

  15. Wayne Bridgnell

    This contest is great and appealing and looking forward for some good feedback.CTV is definitely doing a great job.Thank You.


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