Free Trade

NAFTA Rewrite Means No More American Super Bowl Commericals for Canadians

A little reminder of the complexities of international trade deals.

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John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports/Newscom

In February, Canadian viewers who tuned in to the Super Bowl got to see more than just the Philadelphia Eagles upsetting the New England Patriots. They also got to see the high-dollar commercials that draw as much attention, if not more, than the game itself.

Thanks to the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), that won't be happening again.

Part of the USMCA overturns a 2017 ruling by the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)—basically the Canuck equivalent of the Federal Communications Commission—banning the use of so-called "simultaneous substitution" to plug local ads into American broadcasts of the big game. Canadian networks use simultaneous substitution to plug their own ads into American sporting events, shows, and other programs all the time, but Canadians had been complaining to the commission for years about not being able to enjoy the American Super Bowl ads.

During the 2017 Super Bowl—which was broadcast not only on a Canadian network with Canadian ads but also via Fox with American ads—Canadians voted with their remotes and CTV lost 40 percent of it's usual Super Bowl audience, The Economist reported earlier this year.

The CRTC ruling might have pleased Canadian football fans, but it left the National Football League unhappy. The league sells broadcast rights to its annual championship game, and those broadcasts are less valuable if they don't include the Canadian ads. For this year's game, the Canadian broadcaster that owns the rights to carry the Super Bowl lost an estimated $11 million because it couldn't sell domestic ads, according to the CBC.

Under the terms of the new trade deal, "Canada may not accord the program treatment less favorable than the treatment accorded to other programs originating in the United States retransmitted in Canada." Trade officials from the United States, Canada, and Mexico agreed to the new trade deal on Sunday night, though it will not become official until it receives additional rounds of approvals from the governments of all three countries.

If the USMCA is approved, both the NFL and the Canadian network broadcasting the Super Bowl will make more money, but Canadians won't get to watch (frankly awesome) American ads for beers, trucks, and all things 'Murica during next year's game. Perhaps they'll instead be stuck with re-runs of ads for Tim Horton's and…I don't know, snowmobiles?

The NFL is pleased about the new trade deal. Roger Goodell, the league's commissioner (and frequent target of President Donald Trump's football rage) even praised the American president for negotiating the change.

Of course, the Canadian network that broadcasts the Super Bowl should have the right to show whatever ads it wants—the idea that it's "in the public interest" to have American ads during the Super Bowl, as the CRTC ruled in 2017, is pretty absurd.

But the fact that it took a rewrite of NAFTA to settle this dispute is a reminder of both importance and scope of trade agreements. While deals like the USMCA and NAFTA contribute to the easier movement of goods across national borders, they also take into account various type of protectionism filtered through the complexities of both domestic and international politics.

Deadspin's Chris Thompson sums it up: "The commissioner of an American sports league thanked the American president for helping to overturn a Canadian regulatory rule that forced a Canadian broadcaster to show American advertisements during the Super Bowl, which is the signature American sporting event."

NEXT: Rep. Devin Nunes Sends Out 38-Page Mailer Knocking Local Newspaper

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  1. See? Trump cares.

    1. Trump loves us all!!!

      It’s just a part of the bigger picture…

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      Government loves me, This I know,
      For the Government tells me so,
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      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
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      My Nannies tell me so!

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      1. You come off as a douchebag when you post that.

        1. Yes …. and it’s really bad and boring, and has poor rhyme and meter.

  2. Does this mean Americans won’t be able to see Mexico’s Super Bowl commercials?

    1. No avocados on your superbowl toast this year.

  3. Assholes.

    Question: If I get DirecTV or a Firestick I can get to see the U.S. ads anyway, correct?

  4. You want American ads, you get in line and go through the legal process to become a state just like everyone else.

    Canada has been having its independence and seeing our ads too for 240 years. The freeloading ends now.

    1. Actually, we never got to see the ads until it was okayed I think in 2017 for the 2019 SB or something. Now it looks like we got screwed.

      Free trade my fucken ass.

      1. The ads are just one of a thousand outrages you people have gotten away with down the sundry centuries. We’ve sat by and suffered in silence as you’ve crippled our economy with tariffs on snow exports, as you’ve stolen our black people and hippie conscientious objectors, as you’ve continued to insist on not being annihilated with the nuclear arsenal we have and you don’t so that we could take your only-slightly-irradiated oil sands… and we’re not going to take it any more.

        1. lol.

  5. “Canadians voted with their remotes and CTV lost 40 percent of it’s usual Super Bowl audience, The Economist reported earlier this year.”

    Lol.

    That’s the Canadian way and mindset right there in one sentence.

    We yap on about ‘Canadian culture’ and ‘Canadian content’ but the second we get choice, we bolt.

    1. And with good reason. Canada doesn’t actually have a unifying culture outside of Hockey Night in Canada, and the stuff the CBC portrays as culture nowadays is pretentious hipster garbage.

      I do miss the old National Film Board stuff though, Log Drivers Waltz, The Sweater, etc.

    2. You did get MNAGA–Make North America Great Again.

  6. In regards to the persistence of advertising, I find myself preferring free with advertising to other options. I use Vudu a lot via my smart TV. I understand they have a bigger library than Amazon, and unlike Amazon, they aren’t considered by the content production studios to be competitors, so their model is likely to last. Still, . . .

    I always peruse the free with advertising options first, and if the choice is between free with advertising or paying a few bucks to rent it (on Vudu or elsewhere), I still go with the advertising option. Maybe being old enough to remember broadcast television conditioned me to be more tolerant of advertising that later generations.

    On the other hand, are the ad agencies really paying a cumulative three or four dollars a viewing for ads? The studios are, no doubt, getting a big share of the ad revenue, and most of that however many bucks are going to pay for the content when you rent the movie instead of watch an ad. Still, what they charge you to not watch an ad must be a lot more than what they get for advertising. I can’t pay for a movie anymore without feeling like I’m getting ripped off.

    If it’s an art house film, I might pay more for no interruptions, but a superhero or action flick? I don’t think so.

    1. “… but a superhero or action flick? I don’t think so.”

      Let me introduce you to FLUTE POLICE MAN!!!!

      “The Flute Police”, sung to the tune of “Dream Police”, by Cheap Trick

      The flute police
      They live inside of my head
      The flute police
      They come to me in my bed
      The flute police
      They’re coming to arrest me
      Oh no
      You know that talk is cheap
      And rumors ain’t nice
      With my cheap plastic flute
      I don’t think I’ll survive
      The night the night
      ‘Cause they’re waiting for me
      Looking for me
      Every single night
      (They’re) driving me insane
      Those men inside my brain
      The flute police
      They live inside of my head
      The flute police
      They come to me in my bed
      The flute police
      They’re coming to arrest me

      1. Oh no
        Well I can’t tell lies
        ‘Cause they’re listening to me
        And when I fall asleep
        Bet they’re spying on me tonight,
        Tonight
        ‘Cause they’re waiting for me
        Looking for me
        Every single night
        (They’re) driving me insane
        Those men inside my brain
        I try to sleep
        They’re wide awake
        They won’t let me alone
        They don’t get paid to take vacations
        Or let me alone
        They spy on me
        I try to hide
        They won’t let me alone
        They persecute me
        They’re the judge and jury all in one
        ‘Cause they’re waiting for me
        Looking for me
        Every single night
        (They’re) driving me insane
        Those men inside my brain
        The flute police
        They live inside of my head
        The flute police they come
        To me in my bed
        The flute police
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        The flute police (police, police)
        The flute police (police, police)

        (To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ )? This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

  7. Oh, and by the way . . .

    After I make my first billion, I’ll still be a cheap bastard steeped in the protestant work ethic. But I splurged on a new set a month ago. 65″ of joy, 4k, great screen–refurbrished!, yeah–but for only $438 delivered. All those streaming options, Roku, got Tablo for broadcast TV–74 free channels from that alone. DirectTV Now has been great . . . Vudu, Netflix, . . .

    After getting my motorcycle stolen, I was reduced to public transportation for a while (it was either that or drive a car *shudder*), and I was struck by something: the working poor, the starving students, the kids coming in from the ghettos, the welfare people–even the homeless! They all have smartphones now.

    All the anti-free trade shitheads out there need to account for the fact that anybody can afford an amazing TV and a smartphone these days.

  8. NAFTA “rewrite”?

    You mean NAFTA renamed.

    NAFTA (the worst deal ever according to the Con Man) got a nip (on dairy) and a tuck (higher requirements on auto parts) and was simply renamed.

    Now, of course, it is the greatest trade deal ever according to the Con Man.

    1. The ONLY short-cumming was that it was NOT re-named the “Glorious TRUMPster Deal Fur Der Advanschment off Der Vaterlandt”!!!!!

      We can only expect so much, then we must settle for what we can get… The enemy of the good, is the perfect, after all…

      1. Well, the asshole Trump DID make a good offer …. “Let’s get rid of all the trade restrictions,” but nobody took him up on it.

    2. What, you wanted a trade war?

      1. No, TPP should have been signed. It eliminated 18,000 tariffs on US exports and was a real rewrite.

        1. Your citation fell off.

    3. According to Vox, it’s a great victory for labor on both sides of the US-Mexico border, both of whom got shafted by NAFTA.

      1. According to Bloomberg companies in Mexico will just pay the 2.5% penalty and not boost wages to the mandatory $16/hr.

        Besides, that is not “free trade” when you mandate wages in another country. This deal is just PR.

        1. Well, GAWD Almighty has ordained us as Americans that we should set wages in other nations!!

        2. Its all managed trade.

          The other country does not have to agree to the terms of the agreement.

          1. Weird article. What a bizarre thing to fixate upon.

            1. What? You’re not worried about Canadians getting to see the great US commercials during the Super Bowl? They were much better before PCness took hold.

  9. But the fact that it took a rewrite of NAFTA to settle this dispute is a reminder of both importance and scope of trade agreements.

    No, it’s a reminder that government is stupid and should be avoided.

    #barf

  10. Superbowl ads have been going downhill for years.

    Completely separate point: ads should be taxed at 90%. Not the company providing the space, the company buying the ad pays 90%. It’s nothing but ads everywhere. You want to pollute the earth with advertising? Excise tax!
    -signed, a bitter smoker

    1. Yes! And then when a less noxious alternative is invented, say vapor ads, we’ll attack it with equal vigor.

    2. ads should be taxed at 90%.

      Now there’s some libertarian purity right there!

      1. Little Jeffy, I know you’re a simple, impressionable little tyke, but that is what we call sarcasm.

        Now off to bed with you. It’s past your bedtime, and you’re pestering the adults again.

    3. “It’s nothing but ads everywhere.”

      I remember watching a superbowl game on NHK, Japan’s version of BBC. There were no commercials shown. While North Americans presumably watched the commercials, NHK kept broadcasting the ‘action’ on the field. A bunch of players lollygagging about was puzzling at first. Maybe the constant interruption of commercial breaks saves the audience from watching something ludicrously boring.

  11. Don’t they have to be in French anyway?

  12. Thank Thor the Canucks can twist one up and watch ice hockey and Apple Mac reruns instead of gorilla groping and Trump ads.

    1. They’re gonna be able to buy weed in convenience stores and shit. Canada showing everyone how it’s done.

      1. But make sure to call it “le marijuana,” or you get fined.

  13. the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)

    I’ll say that one positive thing that came out of this is that the new agreement doesn’t have the words “free trade” in the title to confuse people.

    1. OMG, Juice … orange you insightful!

  14. So this is an agreement and not a treaty, so I guess the Senate doesn’t need to approve it?

    How about revocation of a treaty with Iran?

    US terminates 1950s treaty with Iran after court orders ease in sanctions

    The United States is officially terminating a 1955 treaty with Iran after an international court issued a ruling based on the treaty this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday.

    “I’m announcing that the United States is terminating the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran,” Pompeo said at a press briefing. “This is a decision frankly that is 39 years overdue.”

    Pompeo’s announcement came hours after the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nation’s highest court, ordered the United States to lift some sanctions against Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products.

    Sounds like the treaty has been ignored for a long time by both parties, but can they just nullify it unilaterally like that without a vote in the Senate?

    1. I presume that the State Dept. is “denouncing” the treaty on behalf of the U. S., as the treaty authorizes with a year’s notice.

      What role the Senate should constitutionally play I don’t know, but the executive has generally gone on the assumption it doesn’t need the Senate’s OK.

      1. The senate must agree to any treaty but the constitution is silent as to whether the senate must agree to ending said treaty.

  15. Can we arrange for the Superbowl commercials to not be seen in the U.S. as well? Or perhaps on any show?

  16. “If the USMCA is approved, both the NFL and the Canadian network broadcasting the Super Bowl will make more money, but Canadians won’t get to watch (frankly awesome) American ads for beers, trucks, and all things ‘Murica during next year’s game.”

    Suck it, Canadia!

    1. Reason is to nice again working round the clock to find something negative to,write about Trump.

  17. Hoping hard for a Baddie Gi and Jade chronic Super Bowl commercial with tha sistas trading kiss hits to some sick beatz.

  18. I know Canadia is a bit behind the times, but don’t they have YouTube up there?

  19. Still not tired of winning.

  20. How does this continue to be the whining point in Canada when we get TSN (CFL, curling, the tennis and golf majors and, thankfully, a couple Aussie Rules games per weekend and a couple of US college games) but Americans have, what, 9 versions of ESPN and Fox Sports and etc and can watch college football till their eyes bleed.
    But whoa it’s the commercials that has us pissed odd. I don’t know any guy who has ever complained about not watching the Yankee ads b/c, you know, you’re supposed to go take a piss and get more beer during the ads, not sit there and critique them like some kind of Kansas City faggot.

  21. Figures, Boehm thinks super bowl ads are ‘awesome’.

  22. Hey, the House passed universal savings accounts in the bill that revamps retirement accounts and education savings accounts.

    Link

    Title III permits an individual to establish a universal savings account. An individual may contribute up to $2,500 each taxable year and withdraw the funds tax-free and without penalty at any time and for any use.

    Pretty cool. Copying Canada again.

  23. So at least some good came out of the deal.

  24. Jeezus Crsip, reason, this is so stupid, even by your standards

    A) WGAS
    B) The Canadians insisted on this, not Trump. Canadians insist on all sorts of minimum domestic content on their airwaves. We don’t GAS about canadian content, unless it is good. So, basically, Rush, SCTV, The Kids in the Hall, and Trailer Park Boys. Can you imagine if the US Government regulated the amount of British TV, movies, music, and performers that could be shown here? We would riot
    C) WGAS. Fcvk Canadia

  25. Oh no I can’t see Superbowl ads on TV

    *Pulls up the internet*

    Nevermind my outrage

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