Skip to Content

Finally! Canada Will See ‘Real’ Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl north of the border is an odd experience. Sure, people in Canada watch the game and host parties, but a big element is missing. You don’t see the famous commercials that lead many folks to watch in the first place.

So while Americans see famous clips from Apple (AAPL) or Old Spice, Canadians watch commercials about Tim Hortons, snow shovels, and other local fare.

But this year, that’s about to change.

The reason is a controversial 2015 decision by the national broadcast regulator, the chair of which said, “Canadians have told us loud and clear: Advertising is part of the spectacle associated with this event.” The change will finally go into effect for Sunday’s clash between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, meaning Canadians will now get to watch those tearjerker Budweiser puppy ads instead of just reading about them later.

And this might be just the start. According to the CBC, the country is also thinking of allowing American ads to appear during the Academy Awards.

If all this makes you wonder “what’s going on, eh?”, you wouldn’t be the first one. Canada’s peculiar form of TV regulation is a product of patriotic and economic forces unfamiliar to Americans.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

The way it works is that Canadian broadcasters that buy the rights to U.S programming, including the Oscars, can force distributors to overlay local ads on any American station that shows the program at the same time. So if a viewer changes the channel from the Canadian network to NBC (CMCSA) or Fox (FOX), they would see the same ads on both stations. For example, “Tim Horton’s over Taco Bell” as legal blogger Hugh Stephens explains.

Here are all the 2017 Super Bowl Commercials So Far

The point of doing this is to put money into pockets of Canadian networks rather than the U.S. ones that broadcast just across the border. In theory, it’s also supposed to produce more revenue to support homegrown shows—which some Canadians will concede are not very good. [Disclaimer: The author of this article is Canadian.]

So, how do Canadians feel about finally getting to watch “real” Super Bowl ads? Well, the Canadian TV industry isn’t happy and is suing the broadcast regulator for messing with their contractual rights. The lawsuit has the support of the NFL, which realizes the Canadian rights to the game are less valuable if the local network can’t control all the commercials.

As for ordinary Canadians, many are likely to conclude with their neighbors south of the border that the whole Super Bowl spectacle is too long and over-hyped—with or without the special commercials.

Meanwhile, the whole idea of regulating TV in the first place is becoming less practical in an age of online viewing and cord-cutting. Canadians, like everyone else, know they can always see the best commercials online, such as those listed by Fortune‘s sister publication: TIME‘s “25 Most Influential Super Bowl Ads of All Time.”