Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

SportSouth becomes Fox Sports Southeast

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, August 24, 2015

SportSouth has a new name: Fox Sports Southeast.

Why the name change?

SportSouth sounded way too much like sister station Fox Sports South.

Both stations are regional, covering seven states. In Atlanta, they share the Braves. Fox Sports Southeast also exclusively airs Atlanta Hawks games here as well as hockey from Nashville and Raleigh. College football from the Big East and Big 12 will be televised on the Southeast network as well.

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Jeff Genthner, senior vice president and general manager, said the convoluted history of name changes led to this. Originally, Fox had one network: FSN South. It competed with Turner South.

Then Fox purchased Turner South in 2006. It became SportSouth. "Fans wanted to keep it simple," he said.

At the time, this was different enough from FSN South not to cause much brand confusion. In 2009, Fox changed the name to FS South. But nationally in 2012, Fox Sports wanted that name spelled out across the country for its regional networks. So it became Fox Sports South.

That's when people got confused, Genthner said.

Management did a lot of consumer research to try to remedy the situation They considered just adding a number to one, like ESPN does with ESPN2. But then the national Fox networks did that with Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2.

They pondered color coding the networks, having one called Fox Sports South Red and one Fox Sports South Blue.

But in the end, they decided to go with two regional-sounding names.

This new name doesn't fully resolve the confusion since they both use "South" but it does make it clear that both networks are part of Fox Sports. Genthner said some folks still had trouble tying "SportSouth" to Fox.

 

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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