OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s top court on Thursday blocked a decision by regulators that banned broadcaster BCE Inc from showing lucrative domestic ads during U.S. National Football League’s Super Bowl.
BCE’s Bell Media unit has the exclusive rights to show the Super Bowl and until 2017 was able to replace U.S. commercials with Canadian content. This applied both to Canadian and U.S. channels showing the game.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) though ruled viewers should have the right to watch the highly popular U.S. ads, a decision Bell said had cost it millions in revenue.
The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on Thursday that the CRTC did not have the power to ban so-called simultaneous substitution.
“The order was issued on the basis of an incorrect interpretation by the CRTC of the scope of its authority,” they said in the ruling.
Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson said by email that the firm was “happy the issue has finally been resolved by the Supreme Court.” The CRTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren)