Wayne Gretzky just landed a new TV deal. According to the New York Post, the NHL legend will be a lead analyst on TNT's premier studio show after agreeing to a contract that will pay him $3 million per year. This comes after Gretzky announced he is stepping down as vice chairman of the Edmonton Oilers after the team lost to the Winnipeg Jets in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"The Oilers, their fans, and the city of Edmonton have meant the world to me and my family for over four decades - and that will never end," Gretzky wrote in a message posted to social media. "Given the pandemic and other life changes, I realize I will not be able to dedicate the time nor effort needed to support this world-class organization. I want to thank Daryl & Renee Katz, their family, and entire team for all the support and friendship these last several years, and wish them nothing but success."
ESPN was looking to sign Gretzky to be part of the broadcast team but failed to reach a deal. TNT and ESPN will take over NHL coverage from NBC starting next season. ESPN will have the majority of the coverage while TNT will handle the rest.
"This agreement with the National Hockey League brings one of the most prestigious championships in sports to TNT and fuels our entire Turner Sports and Bleacher Report portfolio with even more premium content for many years to come," Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia News & Sports, said in April. "We're delighted to spotlight the world's best hockey league on our leading networks, while continuing to further elevate this marquee property through an ever-expanding array of digital platforms in the years to come."
Having Gretzky on TNT will be big as the network looks to be the go-to place for NHL fans. Gretzky, 60, spent 10 seasons with the Oilers (1978-1988) and led the team to four Stanley Cups. Along with being a vice-chairman, Gretzky served as a mentor to Oilers captain Connor McDavid who is the favorite to win his second MVP award after scoring 105 points in 56 games. Gretzky is no stranger to the MVP award, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy an NHL record nine times in his career. He won it eight times with the Oilers and once with the Los Angeles Kings.