After weeks of speculation, Fox Cable Networks Thursday consummated its purchase of Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s Turner South regional network.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but officials close to the deal said Fox paid Turner some $375 million for the network, which offers Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball games, Atlanta Hawks National Basketball Association games and Atlanta Thrashers National Hockey League contests, as well as some entertainment-based programming.
It’s unclear who at Fox will run the 8 million-subscriber network, which will sit side-by-side with Fox’s owned 11 million-subscriber FSN South regional sports network.
FSN South -- the nation’s largest RSN, with 11.3 million subscribers in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South and North Carolina -- already has rights to some 25 Braves games that it can show in some markets. It also holds rights to Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies NBA games, as well as MLB’s Baltimore Orioles and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators.
The Turner South acquisition brings to 15 the total number of FCN owned-and-operated regional programming networks, which together reach more than 80 million cable and satellite subscribers across 40 of America's 50 largest cities.
"Turner South represents a significant addition to our sports operations and Fox's unparalleled commitment to localism," Fox Networks CEO Tony Vinciquerra said in a prepared statement. "We are very pleased to add Turner South to our diverse portfolio of major programming services."
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.