NFL cries foul on simsub

Calling the decision "unreasonable," the football league has filed a motion to intervene in Bell Media's appeal of the CRTC's simsub ruling.
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The NFL has filed a motion in Bell Canada and Bell Media’s appeal of the CRTC’s decision to end simultaneous substitution for the Super Bowl.

According to documents filed with the Federal Court of Appeal, the football league wishes to intervene in the hearing, citing the CRTC’s lack of an intelligible description of why Canadian viewership of U.S. advertising is “integral” to the Super Bowl in particular, but not other league games or events like the Oscars.

The motion says that the end of simultaneous substitution would mean Canadian advertisers would pay less to advertise during the Super Bowl because of a drop in viewership. The NFL’s motion says that would then lead to a drop in the amount licensees would be willing or able to pay the league for Super Bowl rights.

The league’s arguments will focus on two issues set forth by Bell in its Notice of Appeal: administrative law discrimination and unreasonableness of the decision. The NFL will argue that the CRTC didn’t have the authority under the Broadcasting Act to make regulations based on individual programs, but has that authority only when they apply to distinctions between classes of licensees.

“By signalling out the Super Bowl, the CRTC exceeded its jurisdiction under the Broadcasting Act and transformed a general regulation-making power into an ad hoc discretionary one,” according to the motion. It goes on to note that the NFL will assist the Court because it hasn’t considered the CRTC’s ability to discriminate between programs.

The NFL motion says that the decision is also contrary to the rights of the NFL under both the Copyright Act and Canada’s international treaties.

“These are important pieces of the broader context within which the reasonableness of the CRTC’s interpretation of the Broadcasting Act must be assessed, and neither is raised by Bell,” according to the motion.

- From Media in Canada