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LEADOFF: Liberty Media CEO floats idea of Braves TV network – some day

Good morning. This is Leadoff, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.

File this one under long-term brainstorming.

The president and CEO of Braves owner Liberty Media, Greg Maffei, was asked at an investors conference Monday when the Braves’ local TV rights deal with Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast expires. In 2027, he said. He was asked if there’s any chance of renegotiating the deal before then. No, he said unequivocally, beyond the revenue increases achieved four years ago when the Braves moved 45 games from Peachtree TV to the Fox networks.

Maffei then was asked at Monday’s conference how far under-market the Braves’ local TV deal remains.

“Our deal is certainly not the worst,” he said. “I think there’s upside to our deal because we have one of the largest footprints, potentially. But it really won’t be for a while until we can recognize that.

“And the real opportunity will be a whole other revenue stream around some kind of RSN alongside the team.”

That would be interesting: a Braves-centric regional sports network (RSN).

Maffei didn’t elaborate before moving on to other subjects at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla.

Just something to file away for next decade.

* * *

Maffei also touched Monday on several other topics regarding the Braves.

On SunTrust Park: “The new stadium should generate substantially more revenue than the prior stadium.”

On the team: “I think the team this year will be a winner. We’re clearly in a rebuilding phase, most observers having us having one of the strongest farm team systems around. It may not be that this is the year we win it all, but we’re on the path, we think, to have an excellent team over the next several years that’s going to be enduring, sustaining and have an attractive cost structure.”

On The Battery: “The mixed-use facility … is not fully leased, but we expect to do it in phases. Important parts like Comcast taking the office space, like the build-out of the music facility we have with Live Nation — all of those are going to be completed this year and are attractive parts to building a full mixed-use facility that is going to be incremental to the stadium and quite attractive financially.”

* * *

Atlanta United reportedly drew the fourth largest crowd of any soccer match in the world last weekend.

See Doug Roberson’s story here. 

RELATED:Atlanta United working to improve the fan experience at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

* * *

The executive director of the Georgia High School Association agreed to retire in a move aimed at halting bills introduced in the Georgia Legislature to replace the GHSA with a governing body that would operate under the state Board of Education.

See Stan Awtrey’s story here. 

* * *

The ACC men’s basketball tournament opens today in Brooklyn, N.Y., the first time the event has been held north of Washington, D.C.

See Ken Sugiura’s visit with former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins about the connections that bind New York, the ACC and Tech. 

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