The true value of Super Bowl broadcasts to Canadians


This is the best spot for my antenna to pick up 29.1 WUTV transmitting from Buffalo.

Dear Minister Glover,

Happy New Year.

The Super Bowl chatter on Twitter of late has prompted this post.

I’m not really an NFL fan though I did wear a Green Bay Packers jacket as a teen that my mom kindly bought for me.

I also don’t particularly enjoy the work of watching TV commercials (regular or Super Bowl).

The reason why I like the Super Bowl and its related live television broadcast (arguably the reason the game exists at all) is because it makes over-the-air television signals visible to Canadians and highlights their value.

The seeking out of live US broadcast signals by Canadians predates the formation of Canada’s own broadcast system. Today, most Canadians watch live American television programming (in addition to Canadian programming) via their cable or satellite subscriptions. However, if a Canadian broadcaster has the rights to air the same US show in Canada, Canadians can’t watch US commercials via their subscriptions thanks to Canadian simultaneous substitution rules. That seems just fine for Canadians most of the time but not when it comes to the Super Bowl broadcast. “It’s a price we pay for having a Canadian broadcast system” is what a CRTC Commissioner might explain.

That a minority of Canadians are able to magically watch American Super Bowl ads over-the-air in HD (legally, for no fee) using an antenna serves to perhaps cause the majority of Canadians who subscribe to cable or satellite to pause and consider their otherwise invisible electromagnetic radio spectrum.

If Canadians can leverage an alternative to locked-down cable, satellite, fixed broadband and/or wireless Internet services for access to ephemeral American Super Bowl television ads once a year, how might they be able to leverage their very own Canadian electromagnetic spectrum for improved access to foreign and domestic television content the rest of the year?


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One Response to The true value of Super Bowl broadcasts to Canadians

  1. You are absolutely right Steven. More and more people are calling me every day wanting an antenna installed. Why contribute more money to cable and satellite monopolies? Install an antenna and stop suckling from a poisoned teat. Why pay $500 – $1000 per year – JUST TO WATCH TV?!?!

    Geoff Tebbutt
    The Antenna Guys

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