How to watch the Super Bowl in Canada
Viewers on Fox have a choice between U.S. and Canadian ads this year
This Super Bowl Sunday, Canadians will have a handful of ways to watch the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons — and a choice of whether they want to see Canadian or U.S. advertising.
Watching on TV
For Canadians with cable TV, two options will be available: CTV and Fox.
CTV will simulcast the event on three English-language channels: CTV, CTV Two, and TSN. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. ET, and pre-game coverage begins on CTV at 11 a.m. ET.
The French-language broadcast of Super Bowl LI begins at 5:30 p.m. ET on RDS.
Viewers of CTV's broadcasts will see the usual Canadian commercial spots substituted for big-budget American ads — although CTV is making those ads available for viewing online at BigGameAds.ca.
Complaints about ad substitution led Canada's telecommunications regulator to allow the U.S. feed to broadcast in Canada without substitutions this year, a decision CTV owner Bell Media and the NFL are appealing.
As a result, Canadians with cable subscriptions to Fox will be able to watch the game on that channel, complete with U.S. advertising.
Canadian viewers can stream the Super Bowl live from CTV.ca, or by using the CTV GO app on mobile phones or tablets.
Fox will stream the game online at FoxSportsGo.com, although that stream will only be available to users watching from the U.S. — or those using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to reroute their internet access through the U.S.
1/3 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DYK?src=hash">#DYK</a> that today in Canada you can watch <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SuperBowlLI?src=hash">#SuperBowlLI</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CTV?src=hash">#CTV</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CTV2?src=hash">#CTV2</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TSN?src=hash">#TSN</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RDS?src=hash">#RDS</a>? These channels will broadcast Canadian ads.—@CRTCeng
2/3 Canadians who choose to watch <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Fox?src=hash">#Fox</a> will see the American ads during the big game. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CRTC?src=hash">#CRTC</a> More info: <a href="https://t.co/iCCSeSA2JQ">https://t.co/iCCSeSA2JQ</a>—@CRTCeng
3/3 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CRTC?src=hash">#CRTC</a> is giving Canadians the power to choose. You decide what to watch and on what station.—@CRTCeng
The numbers game
Bell Media is clearly worried that Canadians could switch to Fox this year — the company is holding a "Watch to Win" contest with prizes for CTV viewers.
But Fox has the incredible spending power of American advertising on its side. This year, Fox charged between $5 million and $5.5 million US for a 30-second ad, according to a report in Variety. Big brands like Budweiser, Michelob, Intel, and KFC have all purchased spots.
If Bell Media wants to set a Super Bowl viewership record in Canada this year, it will need to beat its 2015 performance when an average of 9.2 million viewers tuned in to CTV or RDS to watch the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks.
Last year, an average of 8.3 million viewers watched the big game on CTV and RDS, with 18.2 million unique viewers tuning in at some point.
In comparison, an average audience of 111.9 million people tuned in to CBS to watch the Super Bowl in the U.S. last year, according to Nielsen.