While there is no explanation for the move, advocates for the passage of California online sports betting Prop 27 are changing their strategy. The ballot measure that would legalize online sports betting in the state seems headed for defeat in November, prompting an assessment of the current campaign.
There are many possibilities behind what seems a sudden shift just weeks away from Election Day 2022. Unless a new strategy is wildly successful, however, one of the most expensive political campaigns in California’s history will ultimately be nothing more than a lesson for future attempts.
New plan of attack behind California sports betting vote
Last week, Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle broke the news that proponents of Prop 27 planned to pull all of its television ads in most major California cities. It will continue to spend on TV commercials in the greater Los Angeles area, however, and buy targeted TV spots in smaller areas throughout October.
A spokesperson for Yes on 27 said the money saved on TV ads would be spent on other marketing forms like direct mailings and advertisements on the web. At the same time, a spokesperson for the opposition, No on 27, said that the campaign will continue its barrage of TV commercials going.
Does this mean that Yes on 27 is waving the white flag just six weeks before the vote? Not necessarily.
Diverting funds isn’t an obvious surrender
By at least one measure, the messaging in Yes on 27’s TV commercials wasn’t achieving its desired end. A report from research firm Eilers & Krejcik in August showed that Prop 27 will likely fail on the ballot in November.
It makes sense that Yes on 27 would want to stop spending its money on a losing approach. A big downside of TV ads is their duration. A span of 15 or 30 seconds doesn’t afford much time to share a lot of information with voters.
Digital ads and direct mailings afford opportunities to convey more information to voters, but the trade-off can be their effectiveness. Many people gloss over ads on the web and throw out junk mail before reading.
The pullback on TV commercials during October doesn’t mean Yes on 27 will forgo the medium in the future. The campaign could be working on redesigned ads and ramping up for a final push closer to Nov. 8.
The least likely scenario is that Yes on 27 is simply running dry on funds. The deep pockets behind this proposition, like Bally’s, Fanatics, Penn Entertainment and Wynn, have the cash to burn. Combined, proponents and opponents of Prop 27 broke the record for spending on a ballot measure already.
Californians may see a reprieve in October from the barrage of Prop 27 commercials. That could be followed by a sudden deluge in the first few days of November, though.