Bell Canada has been fighting with the CRTC over deals the company has made to broadcast NHL hockey and NFL football games exclusively to its own wireless subscribers.
The CRTC ruled in December that BCE had gained an unfair advantage through those deals – and ordered it to make that content available to rival Telus “at reasonable terms.”
Enter the National Football League and the the most-watched sporting event in North America, the Super Bowl.
The NFL has jumped into the fight saying that its contract with BCE (which owns Bell Canada, CTV and TSN) prohibits any Canadian wireless provider except BCE from gaining access to football broadcasts, including this weekend’s Super Bowl.
According to an article in the Globe and Mail yesterday BCE has quietly renegotiated its deal with the NHL, and said it will share those mobile rights with other wireless carriers. But the NFL refuses to allow Bell to share its games, saying it doesn’t want its content spread among several different broadcast partners.
In the case of this weekend's Super Bowl, it's unlikely that any true sports fan would choose to watch the big game on a smartphone over a big screen television anyways. The more interesting battle will be what football fans are doing on their second screen.
While football fans may not have a choice on what channel they tune into for live game action, they have plenty of options for tracking stats, watching US-feed Super Bowl commerciasl, or betting online on the game.
In the case of the third option, BCE's biggest competitor in sports may become their second screen homepage thanks to a Canadian startup. Sportsnet has partnered with InGamer Sports to offer a "social fantasy" game.
The Captain Morgan Playoff Challenge is a single game sports pool played in real time where you pick a squad of players and compete against friends. Editing your roster each quarter which keeps you engaged from kick-off to final whistle making it the ideal complement to watching the game live. Think of it as a modern day replacement for the obligatory Box Pool at a Super Bowl party.
I'll leave it to Sportsnet's Evanka Osmak to explain.