TV Station Owners Benefit From Overheated Political Spending

(Bloomberg) -- This year’s race for control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate is delivering added riches to TV station owners, thanks to more close races and heavier-than-expected political spending.

Tegna Inc., the owner of 47 stations reaching a third of U.S. households, said Tuesday that its revenue from political advertising in 2018 will be $20 million to $40 million above its previous record for a nonpresidential election year.

The broadcaster, which was split from Gannett Co. in 2015, is benefiting from both higher spending levels and a rising number of competitive races. Democrats hope to take control of the House by flipping 23 seats. The party will have a tougher time gaining the upper hand in the Senate, where they need two additional seats. Democrats have 26 spots to defend in that chamber, compared with just eight for Republicans.

In a regulatory filing, Tegna said it expects $180 million to $200 million in political advertising this year. The previous record of $160 million for a nonpresidential election was set in 2014, the company said.

Tegna’s biggest market is Texas, where it operates 10 stations. The McLean, Virginia-based company put out the revenue projections ahead of meeting with investors at a conference this week.

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