NFL Supporting BCE in CRTC Battle

The National Football League is on BCE Inc.’s side in its latest battle with the Canadian Radio and Television Commission.

Recall that in December, the CRTC ruled that BCE would not be permitted to restrict mobile broadcasts of hockey and football games to only Bell Mobility subscribers. BCE also owns broadcast networks CTV and TSN.

Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s senior vice-president of media business strategy and development wrote (as reported in The Globe and Mail, Jan. 31),”The NFL owns the copyright to NFL content licensed under the mobility agreement and Bell has no right to [redistribute] this content” to other companies.

BCE said it intends to renegotiate terms when the NFL deal comes up again, which would allow sharing of content with other carriers as it has with the National Hockey League, but it needs to respect the NFL deal it currently has in place in addition to the CRTC ruling.

The CRTC hasn’t responded to the latest NFL statement or to BCE’s obvious dilemma.

Who’s betting that no decision is made before Super Bowl 46 on Sunday?

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