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Bell's appeal over Super Bowl ad policy dismissed by federal court

The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed Bell Canada and the NFL's appeal over a regulatory decision to ban substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the Super Bowl.

CRTC ruled in 2015 that Canadian broadcasters couldn't substitute American commercials

New England Patriots' Tom Brady celebrates his team's victory in Super Bowl LI this past February. The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed Bell Canada and the NFL's appeal over a CRTC decision to ban substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the Super Bowl. (Darron Cummings/The Associated Press)

The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed Bell Canada and the NFL's appeal over a regulatory decision to ban substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the Super Bowl.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced the ban on simultaneous substitution of Canadian advertising over American broadcasts in 2015, but it only took effect during the game this past February.

Justice David G. Near wrote in a judgment delivered Monday that there is a certain irony that legislation with an objective to protect the Canadian broadcasting industry is being used to allow for the broadcasting of American ads during the Super Bowl to the apparent detriment of the industry.

However, he said, it's up to the CRTC to decide how best to balance competing policy objectives.

Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson said in an email that the company hopes the regulator will take a close look at the clear impact of its decision on Canadian broadcasting and all those who work in the industry.

In August, Bell asked the CRTC to reconsider its decision, claiming its advertising revenues dropped by $11 million and it lost 40 per cent of its audience for the football game.

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