|Launched||October 13, 2006|
|Owned by||Fox Entertainment Group
(21st Century Fox)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
parts of North Carolina
Nationwide via DirecTV and Dish Network
|Formerly called||Turner South|
|Sister channel(s)||Fox Sports South
Fox Sports Carolinas
Fox Sports Tennessee
650 (SD) / 650-1 (HD) overflow feed
|Available on most cable systems in the Southeastern U.S.||Check local listings|
SportSouth is an American regional sports network that is operated as an affiliate of Fox Sports Networks. The channel is owned by Fox Cable Networks, a unit of the Fox Entertainment Group division of 21st Century Fox. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. SportSouth reaches about 8.9 million cable and satellite subscribers in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and parts of North Carolina (roughly from Asheville to Charlotte).
- Turner South was launched in 19991 by the Turner Broadcasting System as the first regional entertainment network developed especially for viewers in the southern U.S. The cable and satellite television network offered movies, television 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 Broadcasting at network launch. Fox Cable Networks acquired Turner South in May 2006, and renamed the network "SportSouth" in October of the same year.
- The original SportSouth was founded by Turner Broadcasting System in 1990. Programs included Atlanta Braves games, Atlanta Hawks games, World Championship Wrestling events, Charlotte Hornets games, college sports, and some syndicated shows. This original SportSouth was acquired by Fox Cable Networks in 1996 and became what is now Fox Sports South.
In March 2006, Fox Sports Net's then-parent company News Corporation, looking to further expand its roster of sports teams and events, bought Turner South for $375 million.2 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 Southern U.S.-based network owned by News Corp, FSN South.
From 2008 to 2012, SportSouth shared local broadcast rights to the Atlanta Braves with independent station WPCH-TV (channel 17), which formerly served as the local broadcast version of TBS until October 2007. On March 1, 2013, Fox Sports South and SportSouth announced they acquired the rights to 45 additional Atlanta Braves games, ending the team's contract with WPCH-TV. 2013 will be the first season in 40 years without locally produced Braves games on over-the-air broadcast television.3 (select games from the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals will also be distributed on SportSouth, subject to Major League Baseball territorial restrictions). This ensures that both those teams and the Nashville Predators have the maximum number of games televised that they wish to offer.
SportSouth acquired the rights to University of Tennessee sporting events on August 28, 2007, including twelve encore presentations of Tennessee football, four men’s basketball games, four women's basketball games, six Olympic sporting events, twelve hour-long episodes of The Derek Dooley Show, nine half-hour episodes of The Pat Summitt Show, and nine half-hour episodes of 'The Bruce Pearl Show.
There are two major differences between Fox Sports South and SportSouth:
- SportSouth plans to air only programs of interest to the region, much as Prime Ticket does in Southern California. Jeff Genthner, vice president and general manager of Fox Sports 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 Fox Sports South will carry national FSN games, such as those from the Big 12 and Pac-10 Conferences. The two channels also try to air virtually all Southeastern Conference or Atlantic Coast Conference games on one channel or the other, again often targeted to regional versus national interests.
- SportSouth had been blacked out in areas not covered by the ZIP codes in the regional coverage area. For example, viewers of DirecTV's "Sports Pack" in other parts of the United States were not able to receive the channel. The blackout policy dated back to the days of Turner/Time Warner ownership. However, by August 2007, the restrictions were lifted on DirecTV and "Sports Pack" subscribers now receive the channel without blackouts (except during major league sporting events)citation needed.
- Fox Sports South also covers a somewhat wider broadcast area, and offers a variety of different MLB, NBA, and NHL teams, depending on location.
A logo bug appears on the top right screen during regular programming. For most programs (including nationally-televised sports) the Fox Sports logo is shown with a dark blue, rounded drop-down arrow shape containing the word "SPORTSOUTH" (resulting in the bug reading "Fox Sports SportSouth"). The bottom of the drop-down contains a small arrow, colored light blue. During local sporting telecasts, with the exception of Atlanta Dream games, the logo changes. In all cases, the Fox Sports logo is replaced with text, "SPORTSOUTH".
For Grizzlies basketball games, the text in the drop-down changes to "GRIZZLIES" (so that the bug reads "SportSouth Grizzlies"), with the arrow at the bottom of the drop-down shown in a slightly lighter shade of blue. For Hawks basketball games, the text in the drop-down changes to "HAWKS", with the arrow at the bottom of the drop-down shown in red. As for Braves baseball games, the text in the drop-down changes to "BRAVES", with the arrow at the bottom of the drop-down also colored in red. During Bobcats basketball games, the text in the drop-down changes to "BOBCATS", with the arrow at the bottom of the drop-down shown in orange. These localized logo bugs are also seen during each team's Live pre- and post-game shows.
- Bob Rathbun: play-by-play
- Dominique Wilkins: analyst
- Andre Aldridge: sideline reporter and Hawks Live fill-in pre-game and post-game host
- Jerome Jurenovich: Hawks Live pre-game and post-game host
- Mike Glenn: Hawks Live analyst
- Chip Caray: play-by-play
- Joe Simpson: analyst
- Tom Glavine: analyst
- Dale Murphy: analyst
- Jerome Jurenovich: Braves Live pre-game and post-game host
- Brian Jordan: Braves Live analyst
- Paul Byrd: Braves Live analyst
- Tom Hart : Reporter
- Pete Pranica: play-by-play
- Sean Tuohy: analyst
- Brevin Knight: analyst
- Rob Fischer: sideline reporter
- Bob Rathbun: play-by-play
- LaChina Robinson: analyst
- Turner South to Launch Friday, October 1, to Nearly One Million Subscribers Time Warner Press Release September 29, 1999
- Fox Cable Buys Turner South, Multichannel News, February 23, 2006.
- Fox Picks Up Braves' Games from PeachTree TV Multichannel News, March 1, 2013