Still, TV ads, especially during World Series game, are expensive. For 30-second spots in each of the first five games of the World Series, the Sbranti campaign paid a total of $346,500. As a comparison, four nightly news ads on the same channel purchased by Neel Kashkari's campaign for governor cost just $1,680.
So why would a campaign pay that premium, especially if so many viewers can't vote for the candidate they see on the screen?
"It's a sure bet," says Robin Swanson, a Democratic political strategist and former communications director for Assembly Speaker John Perez. "You're going to buy it because you know people are watching."
In the age of sitcom-streaming and DVR, the unique draw of live sports is not lost on campaign consultants.
"This is not a program that people typically tape," adds Sbranti spokeswoman Michelle Henry. "They're watching it live so you have a much larger audience."
Henry knows the effectiveness of World Series advertising firsthand. She worked for Buchanan when the assemblywoman won re-election in 2010, behind a similar ad purchase during the Giants' World Series against the Texas Rangers.
With term limits on a state legislator's stay in office, regional ads can also be effective in making a quick introduction to viewers who may later become a voting base.
"[Sbranti] will be voting on issues that effect the state," says Henry. "There are also people who have relatives who live in the 16th. They might be living in the city but might have a cousin living in Pleasanton or Walnut Creek, and they can strike up a conversation that they know about this race and hopefully influence their friends and neighbors, and co-workers."
Ultimately, airing these ads is a luxury. It's a big reason why no other Assembly or state Senate candidate in the Bay Area has purchased ad time on network channels so far this fall.
Catharine Baker's campaign is simply not in a financial position to match Sbranti's on-air presence. In a statement, campaign spokesman Justin Matheson said, "Catharine is proud to stand with the voters on the issues, not special interest bosses, and that resonates more than any expensive ad."
The ads may be expensive, but when viewers turn on the World Series over the next two nights, Swanson says Sbranti has them right where he wants them.