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With what was arguably the best Super Bowl in recent memory, if not ever, now in the books the discussions are beginning to settle. But behind the scenes, the second wave is now upon us, the moment where television and digital channels begin to publish usage and viewership stats.

As reported in January, the CRTC made a major shift in their stance on the availability of the US feed for Canadians to consume. Essentially lowering the potential value for Canadian advertisers who would invest in the Canadian feed for the Super Bowl.

Without lack of effort to promote the event, Bell Media aired across 3 networks – CTV, CTV2, and TSN – layered in a robust on air contest – and gave viewers clear direction around how to identify if they were watching the US or Canadian signal.

Unfortunately for Bell Media, their efforts could not stop the masses from transitioning to the US feed.

Bell Media has released their audience numbers, showing that roughly 4.47 million viewers tuned into their feed and saw the Canadian advertisers do their thing and perhaps, participated in their contest.

That number may not seem all that bad, but when compared to the number from 2016, which was arguably a less attractive game to the Canadian audience (the New England Patriots are the most popular NFL team in Canada) the impact was huge. The audience dropped nearly 40%, falling from 7.32 million in 2016 to 4.47 million in 2017.

*We have the opportunity to dig a bit deeper into those numbers and the reality is that of the 18+ Canadian audience, approximately 3.8 million tuned in on the Canadian feed.


The actual number of Canadians who tuned into the US feed is an unknown at this point, although we may see this data in the coming days or weeks.

Where we go from here is an unknown, the pressure on the CRTC will be massive. Bell is roughly halfway through a multi-year contract to own the rights to the Super Bowl, after paying tens of millions for the rights to the big game. This move undeniably has put their ability to recover that investment in serious question and we will likely hear about this topic again in forthcoming earning reports.

For those who are left wondering how to approach the Super Bowl, the true unicorn of live events you are not alone.

If the CTRC hold true to their decision, Canadian advertisers will be forced to re-evaluate their approach to this event. The audience is massive, the potential is tremendous and the approach needed will absolutely require some outside of the box thinking to allow the Super Bowl to bring the impact it once had, yet again.

Leveraging fresh ideas and data will surely be the route to take.  We are extremely excited by the potential and the approach we are developing. As the saying goes, “when one door closes, another opens”.