Political Ads Mean Big Money for Local Stations

By Kevin Eck 

Local TV stations may be the only clear winner in this year’s election, despite which candidate comes out on top.

Political ads are driving increasing profits, especially in states with tight races that may decide control over the Senate.

In its write up of the trend, Bloomberg used Las Vegas NBC affiliate KSNV as one example.


Campaign spending this year at the Sinclair owned station reached $54 million through October 5, according to spending tracker AdImpact.

“The market is robust,” Sinclair told Bloomberg.

Nexstar Media Group Inc., with 200 TV stations in 116 markets, reported second-quarter political revenue up about 80% over the same period two years ago. Its stations this year are benefiting from Senate ads in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and ads for governor races in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Alabama.

“We’re right in the eye of the storm in the most competitive races,” Chief Executive Officer Perry Sook told investors Aug. 4. “Eighty percent of all competitive races will be contested in the Nexstar footprint.”

Sook said it’s possible spending exceeds the presidential year of 2020.

“TV is still the leader in terms of ad dollars, and that doesn’t look like it will change any time soon,” Mitchell West, a director of CMAG, told Bloomberg.

“The real core voting demographics can still be very effectively reached by placing buys during Jeopardy or the morning news,” West said.