Changes at PTV end Turner’s Braves broadcast production
Braves games on Peachtree TV will look and sound a lot like Braves games on Fox Sports South and SportSouth, right down to the broadcasters and production teams.
Peachtree TV is turning over production of its 45 Braves games to Fox Sports South, which will use its own crews and broadcasters. Outside of the Atlanta viewing area, Peachtree games will be carried on Fox Sports South or Fox-owned SportSouth — good news for some Braves fans in the South who previously didn’t receive the Peachtree games.
Those games will carry the Peachtree brand, but only on the broadcasts carried by PTV.
Fox Cable officials did not immediately say which broadcasters would work the additional games, or whether those plans were finalized. A Meredith spokesperson said production decisions would be left to Fox.
Broadcasters Joe Simpson and Chip Caray worked Fox Sports South and SportSouth games last season, and Simpson teamed with Ernie Johnson on Peachtree with John Smoltz adding frequent analysis.
Johnson is under contract with Turner and serves as studio host for its TNT basketball broadcasts and postseason baseball. Smoltz worked for Turner on its Peachtree games in addition to his TBS duties national games and postseason coverage.
The outsourcing of Peachtree TV’s Braves game and other sports content was among the major changes announced Tuesday by the station, which is turning over its management to Meredith Corp. — the company that runs CBS Atlanta.
Before much longer, the name on Turner Field might be the only remaining link between the Braves and Turner, the man and the broadcasting company that helped make it “America’s Team.”
For the first time 1972, no Braves games will be produced by Turner crews, other than occasional Braves appearances on TBS’ national game of the week.
Ted Turner bought the Braves in 1976, primarily to assure that they remained in Atlanta and a programming staple on his station WTBS, which later blossomed into Superstation TBS.
Fox Sports Net and SportSouth became primary Braves carriers in 2008, continuing an increasing migration of Braves games from Turner begun nearly a decade ago.
Shortly after he bought the Braves in ‘76, Ted Turner put them on his pioneering Superstation, which sent its signal off satellites and beamed Braves broadcasts into homes across the country. The lowly Braves suddenly had more broadcast exposure than any team in professional sports.
It became known as “America’s Team” long before the Braves became a perennial playoff contender. It was a generally bad team for more than a decade on TBS, but some Braves players, along with broadcasters Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren, became wildly popular in every corner of the United States.
TBS showed about 150 games a year nationally until the early 1990s – except in Atlanta, where area residents got the local feed of those games on WTBS.
The beginning of the end of the Superstation-era Braves came after Turner Broadcasting Systems merged with Time Warner in 1996. Four years later, AOL and Time Warner merged.
By that time, TBS was carrying only about half of the Braves’ schedule, with the rest divided between Fox Sports Net and new regional network Turner South. In 2006, Turner South was sold to Fox Cable Networks, which moved Turner South’s Braves games to newly created SportsSouth.
The Braves were sold by Time Warner to Liberty Media in 2007, and that season was the team’s last on TBS. Also in 2007, WTBS was re-branded to become Peachtree TV
Peachtree TV is contracted to carry about 45 Braves games annually through 2013.
(Staff writer Kristi Swartz contributed to this story.)