TNT Makes a ‘Great’ Hire for Their NHL Coverage Next Season
If TNT's goal was to score some of the biggest names in hockey for their NHL coverage next year, then getting the best goal scorer ever certainly won't hurt.
That's exactly what they did, as it was reported last night that "The Great One", Wayne Gretzky, is coming to TNT to join their on-air staff as the network begins their NHL contract in 2021-22. The former Oilers, Blues and Rangers legend recently stepped down from his role on the board of the Edmonton Oilers, and wasted no time in securing his next job.
It's been a unique journey after Gretzky hung up the skates, but this should be a win-win for both sides, as well as the NHL.
It's a Michael Scott win-win-win, if you will. Here's why.
Two words...brand recognition. The biggest struggle that hockey will face is becoming more mainstream and easier to relate to for the general public. When you ask a non-hockey fan to name a player, the vast majority of people will shoot out The Great One's name. Just showing his photo in your TV commercials and online ads will bring in viewers. It's an absolute no-brainer.
FOR WAYNE GRETZKY
Wayne has worn a number of hats in his career, but the vast majority of his time has been spent being the reserved, "speak softly but carry a big stick" presence in a locker room. This is his chance to show America his TRUE personality. We already knew that Shaq and Charles Barkley had personalities, but we didn't know the same about Kenny Smith. All three of those ex-NBAers are MEGA stars in the world of sports, and if Gretzky is able to loosen up a bit, he could become the same.
FOR THE NHL
This TV deal needs to be a home run, a slam dunk, whatever sports pun you want to go with. This is the first time your games won't be on an NBC-owned network since 2005, and while the product has grown during it's time on NBC, it hasn't reached a mainstream level that basketball and football have. Getting the biggest names in the HISTORY of your sport front-and-center for the new networks is a big win for the league as they continue to grow.