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Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons was a game that will be long remembered, but another conflict that also may long be remembered had already begun off the field among would-be Super Bowl advertiser GNC, Fox Broadcast and the NFL. The problem was that Fox agreed to a GNC Super Bowl ad, GNC then spent millions on ad production, next the NFL said it wouldn't allow the ad and Fox subsequently canceled it less than a week before the game. Turns out that the NFL had a black list of companies that included GNC. Players were not allowed to have a business relationship with them.
Millions tuned in to the Super Bowl to watch the New England Patriots battle the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, but the fight brewing off the field between GNC and Fox is just getting started.
GNC, the vitamin and supplement retailer, is preparing to pursue legal action against Fox Broadcasting, claiming that it suffered "significant economic and reputational damages, lost opportunities, and consequential damages" because the network rejected the brand's first-ever Super Bowl ad after initially clearing it.
Experts say the move is unprecedented in the industry and could have a lasting impact on Super Bowls to come. — Adrianne Pasquarelli & Lindsay Stein, Ad Age
Here's the commercial that we didn't see: