network_name = SportSouth
network_type = Cable
available = Georgia,
Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolinaand parts of North Carolina
owner = FOX Cable Networks
Jeff Genthner, senior vice president and general manager
October 13, 2006
website = http://msn.foxsports.com/regional/south
SportSouth is a
regional sports networkin the United States, with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. SportSouth, formerly Turner South, relaunched on October 13, 2006. The first official event on the channel was a National Hockey Leaguegame between the Atlanta Thrashersand the Carolina Hurricanes.
SportSouth reaches about 8.9 million cable and satellite subscribers in Georgia,
Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolinaand parts of North Carolina.
Turner Southwas launched in 1999[http://www.timewarner.com/corp/newsroom/pr/0,20812,667423,00.html] by Turner Broadcasting Systemas the first regional entertainment network developed especially for viewers in the southern U.S. The regional cable TVnetwork offered movies, tv series, sitcoms, regional news updates, and unique original programming, plus professional sports coverage for Atlanta Braves( Major League Baseball), Atlanta Hawks( National Basketball Association), and Atlanta Thrashers( National Hockey League), all of which were owned by Turner Broadcastingat network launch.
*The original SportSouth was founded by
Turner Broadcasting System(which Time Warner would later buy) in 1990. Programs included Atlanta Bravesgames, Atlanta Hawksgames, Atlanta Knightsgames, Charlotte Hornetsgames, college sports, and some syndicated shows. One of them, " This Week in NASCAR", was hosted by sportscasting veteran Eli Gold. Viewers could call in and discuss NASCARracing with drivers and other guests. That show was produced at Lowe's Motor Speedwayin Concord, North Carolina. This original SportSouth was bought by Fox Cable Networks in 1996 and became what is today FSN South.
In March 2006, FSN's parent company
News Corporation, looking to further expand its roster of sports teams and events, boughtthe network for $375 million. [http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6310342.html] . After the deal was completed, FSN sought a new name. After about 60 different suggestions, network officials chose SportSouth, the original name of the other network owned by News Corp, FSN South.
SportSouth plans to air 61 Thrashers games, 45 Hawks games in 2006-07 and 55 Braves games in the
2007MLB season. That number will expand to 80 in 2008, when TBS ends national broadcasts of Braves games in favor of a leaguewide package. [http://www.ajc.com/hawks/content/sports/stories/2006/10/03/1004turnersouth.html] It shares local Braves broadcasting with WPCH-TV, the spun-off local broadcast version of TBS, an arrangement which begun in 2008. (Select games of the Cincinnati Redsand St. Louis Cardinalswill also be distributed on SportSouth, subject to Major League Baseball territory restrictions.) However, conflicts with NBA and NHL playoff games could see the split between SportSouth and FSN South differ from the planned 80/25 games per network. Also, in 2006-07, SportSouth began televising some Memphis Grizzliesgames. [http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/news/release-061004-television_schedule.html] This ensures that both they and the Nashville Predatorshave the maximum number of games televised that they wish to offer.
Sportsouth also has acquired the rights to University of Tennessee sporting events as of August 28, 2007, including 12 encore presentations of Tennessee football, four men’s basketball games, four women’s basketball games, six Olympic sporting events, 12 60-minute episodes of The Phillip Fulmer Show, nine 30-minute episodes of The Pat Summitt Show, and nine 30-minute episodes of The Bruce Pearl Show.
There are two major differences between
FSN Southand SportSouth:
*SportSouth plans to air only programs of interest to the region, much as FSN Prime Ticket does in Southern California.
Jeff Genthner, vice president and general manager of FSN South and SportSouth, cited a program currently in the works on Hawks rookie Shelden Williams' first year in the NBA as one example. Thus, only FSN South will carry national FSN games, such as those from the Big 12and Pac-10Conferences. The two channels also try to put virtually all Southeastern Conferenceor Atlantic Coast Conferencegames on one channel or the other, again often targeted to regional vs. national interests.
*SportSouth is blacked out in areas not covered by the
ZIP codesin the regional coverage area. For example, viewers of DirecTV's "Sports Pack" in other parts of the United Stateswill not receive the channel. The blackout policy dates back to the days of Turner/Time Warner ownership. However, as of August 2007, it appears the restrictions have been lifted on DirecTVand "Sports Pack" subscribers are now receiving the channel without blackouts (except during major league sporting events)Fact|date=September 2007.
*FSN South also covers a somewhat wider broadcast area, and offers a variety of different MLB, NBA, and NHL teams, depending on location.
Promotional commercials for SportSouth have included sports figures such as
Steve Spurrier, Bob Hartley, Bo Jackson, and Heath Shuler.
Bob Rathbun: play-by-play
*Steve Smith: analyst
*James Verette: sideline reporter
Jerome Jurenovich: Hawks Live Host
Jon Sciambi: play-by-play
*Joe Simpson: analyst
Katy Temple: field reporter
Jerome Jurenovich: "Braves Live" host
Ron Gant: "Braves Live" analyst
Brian Jordan: "Braves Live" analyst
JP Dellacamera: play-by-play, "Thrashers Live" host
Darren Eliot: analyst, "Thrashers Live" analyst
Natalie Taylor: rink reporter
*Steve Martin (broadcaster): play-by-play
*Henry Williams: analyst
Stephanie Ready: sideline reporter
Pete Pranica: play-by-play
Sean Tuohy: analyst
*Rob Fischer: sideline reporter
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