Sinclair Significantly Lowers 3Q Political Forecast

Taking stock of political spending so far, Sinclair Broadcast Group Tuesday said it may net up to $22 million less in political money than originally expected during the third quarter of 2016.

The station group estimated that total 3Q revenue will fall between $637 million and $638 million, including roughly $46 million of political money. That’s up 28% from 3Q 2015.

In August, Sinclair estimated third quarter revenues would range from about $649 million to $663 million, a roughly 30-33% increase from the year before. That estimate included $58 million to $68 million in political.

“Political is the most difficult part of our revenue to estimate given that advertising time is typically purchased with only a couple of days’ notice prior to the ads airing,” CFO Chris Ripley said. “While we previously anticipated a decline in presidential ad spending in the third quarter based on the late fundraising by the Trump campaign, we have yet to see significant spending, even at the levels we initially anticipated.”

Sinclair’s estimate is also being impacted by a “historically large political advertiser” that announced they were going to direct their funds to organizing voters rather than towards campaign funding, Ripley said. In addition, spending on the Ohio senate race, which was expected to be among the most-costly ever in the state, has dropped as polls show a widening margin between candidates, he said.

Sinclair will release its third quarter results on Nov. 2.