Looked To Expand
With this plethora of programming at hand, Turner sought a wider outlet. He found it in late 1974 when he decided to send television signals to an orbiting communications satellite that, in turn, would relay them to dishshaped receivers owned by the cable television stations across the country. Thus on December 17, 1976, Turner's "Superstation" was born. The signal was seen from Honolulu to the Virgin Islands and throughout all of North America. "Ted's strategic thinking was sound and foresighted. He essentially was doing an end run around the networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC—and their huge investment in landlines," says Jeremy Byman in his short biography, "Ted Turner, Cable Television Tycoon."
To ensure that the Braves would remain a TBS regular, Turner bought the money-losing team in 1976. Because the Braves provided guaranteed programming, Turner said he could afford to lose $5 million a year on team operations and still come out ahead.
But such subsidies did not sit well with Turner. To bolster the sagging team's fortunes and endear himself and the team to a nonplussed Atlanta, Turner became its prime cheerleader and marketing guru. Seemingly nothing was off limits when building Braves mania. Promotions included Easter egg hunts, ostrich races, free halter-top giveaways and belly dancer performances.
His work paid off when the Braves captured the first professional sports championship for Atlanta after they beat the Cleveland Indians, four games to two, in the 1995 World Series. Through the 2002 season, the team won 11 straight division titles.