The Super Bowl and the Battle for the Second Screen

by Rob Lewis

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.

Bell Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing the most comprehensive and innovative suite of communication services to residential and business customers in Canada. Operating under the Bell brand, the Company's services include Bell Home Phone local and long distance services, Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile wireless, high-speed Bell Internet, Bell TV direct-to-home satellite and... more

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is an independent public organization that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems. The CRTC does not regulate newspapers, magazines, cell phone rates, the quality of service and business practices of cell phone companies, or the quality and content of TV and radio programs. As an... more

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Today there is a major market opportunity to change the way live events are enjoyed by fans in the sports gaming space. The traditional, hardcore sports gaming/fantasy market has plateaued. Why? It has failed to deliver the level of social, real-time engagement that millions of sports fans want. Fantasy sports games are played by 30 million people in North America but there is a larger share of... more

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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more

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