Sports Network Exec and Alum to Give Lecture

foxMichigan State University alum Jeff Genthner, senior vice president and general manager of four Atlanta-based regional sports networks, will deliver the 2012 Zabrusky Lecture at 3 p.m. Feb. 6 in room 145 of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building at Michigan State University.

Genthner's talk is entitled "The Business of Regional Sports Networks: A mini ESPN? Not even close!

There are more than 40 regional sport networks scattered across the nation, Genthner says. Genthner is the senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Tennessee and SportSouth.

“The ways regional sports networks work – how they acquire rights to televise games, their economic business models, their challenges and opportunities, and the strategies they use to connect with viewers and sponsors – are very different from the national sports networks, he says.

During this presentation, Genthner will explore the history of how regional sports networks evolved and what the future holds.

A 32-year industry veteran, Genthner played a pivotal role in developing FOX Sports South into the nation's largest regional sports network, reaching 13 million cable and satellite homes across seven states. In 2006, Genthner helped facilitate FOX Sports Media Group's acquisition of Turner South, a regional cable network owned by Time Warner, which was subsequently converted to a 24 hour sports network, rebranded SportSouth and now reaches more than 10 million homes. In 2008, he oversaw an extensive rebranding effort, which divided FOX Sports South into three networks: FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Carolinas and FOX Sports Tennessee to drive a greater sense of localism and community for the FOX Sports regional networks across the southeast. In 2011, the FOX Sports Regional Networks under Genthner acquired operational oversight of the Atlanta Braves' 45 game broadcast television package from Time Warner enabling FOX Sports South to become the exclusive production, advertising sales and outer-market distribution agent for all 150 local Braves' game televised across the southeast.

Born in Manhasset, New York and raised in New York and Virginia, Genthner graduated from Michigan State University in 1980 with a bachelor of arts degree in communication and a minor in political science. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

The Edward Zabrusky Public Relations Lecture Series is named for former MSU News Bureau chief Ed Zabrusky, who retired from MSU in 1994 after almost 40 years of public relations work for the university.

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