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Wayne Gretzky Chose TNT For Family Reasons

“He was a big target for Turner and ESPN, who ended up signing Mark Messier after Gretzky was no longer an option, as their premier former-player analyst.”

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Courtesy: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Wayne Gretzky is entering a new profession at the age of 60 for a very personal reason. “The Great One” discussed why he is just now entering the media space as opposed to earlier in life.

“It was for a few reasons, not just one particular reason,” Gretzky said to The Athletic this week. “We have five children, and our second youngest child is going to NYU in New York City. Our youngest daughter turned 18 and is now attending SMU. I have a 100-year-old mother-in-law that we live with in St. Louis, so (my wife) Janet and I moved as a family to St. Louis to be closer to her and spend as much time as possible with her.”

Wayne Gretzky is a part of the brand-new broadcast team covering hockey on TNT. He was a big target for Turner and ESPN, who ended up signing Mark Messier after Gretzky was no longer an option, as their premier former-player analyst.

“It was kind of a tough year with spending 20 days and watching my dad (Walter) pass, so we’re getting an opportunity to spend time in the Midwest with Janet’s family,” Gretzky continued. “Coupled with that, we have two grandboys who live in Florida. When the opportunity arose to be part of hockey again, it was just Janet and I at home. Coming into Atlanta (where Turner Sports is located) is relatively easy from St. Louis and from Florida.”

Wayne Gretzky played 20 seasons in the NHL, 15 of which he made the All-Star team. The greatest hockey player of all time captured four Stanley Cup titles during his career.

“To be part of a group that really wants hockey to do well. I love being part of the team, and I haven’t been around that in a long time. Hockey is my life. I love the game. I love everything about it. So when they ask me to be part of this, I was genuinely excited.”

TNT starts their NHL coverage on Wednesday, Oct. 13, when the New York Rangers visit the Washington Capitals.

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Kentucky Derby Rebounds With 16 Million Viewers

“The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.”

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The Kentucky Derby has now eclipsed 15 million viewers in each of the last eight years that the event was not effected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. An average audience of 16 million tuned in Saturday to see longshot Rich Strike win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.

During the weekend, the event kept finding new life on social media. According to an NBC Sports press release, the overhead shot of the final call drew big audiences across a number of the network’s digital platforms, having been viewed in total more than 36 million times.

Peacock also cashed in on the event’s success. The streaming platform posted an average minute audience of over 247,000 viewers during the Kentucky Derby.

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ESPN Releases Details For Joe Buck’s PGA Championship Broadcast

“Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host.”

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Omaha Productions and ESPN are getting ready for the PGA Championship. News broke last week that Joe Buck would make his ESPN debut at the center of alternative coverage of the event. Now the network is sharing a few details of the broadcast.

Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host. ESPN’s senior golf analyst will bring the perspective of a former caddie to the broadcast as well as the humor of a former comedian.

The duo will welcome plenty of guests too. The lineup suggests that while the broadcast will be built around golf, the conversations could go anywhere. Troy Aikman, Josh Allen, Charles Barkley, Doris Burke, Fred Couples, Jon Hamm, and Peyton & Eli Manning are all scheduled to make appearances.

“We loved doing Monday Night Football with ESPN and the entire Omaha team has been looking forward to producing alternate telecasts that celebrate other sports,” Peyton Manning said in a press release. “As one of golf’s majors, the PGA Championship is a perfect place to do our first one for golf and we look forward to working with Joe, Michael and everyone in ESPN’s golf team.”

Joe Buck and Michael Collins will be on TV for all four days of the PGA Championship. They will be on for four hours each day. The broadcast will alternate between ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ depending on where the traditional coverage of the event is airing.

The PGA Championship with Joe Buck & Michael Collins is the latest offering from ESPN’s deal with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. The company has also committed to produce alternate coverage of MMA and college football broadcasts in the future.

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Tom Brady To Join FOX At End Of Career

“Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.”

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Tom Brady won’t be in the booth this season for FOX, but he will be there eventually. The network’s PR account tweeted that as soon as Brady is ready to call it a career, he will join Kevin Burkhardt to call the biggest game on the network’s slate each week.

“We are delighted that Tom has committed to joining the Fox team and wish him all the best during this upcoming season,” FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

FOX has made no secret of its desire to bring Brady aboard. The network has been courting him ever since he announced his retirement in February. The desire to pair him with Burkhardt was first reported in March by Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

This news raises questions about the future for a lot of the parties involved. First, who will be Burkhardt’s partner this season? Tom Brady has committed to play for the Buccaneers. Next, what does this mean for the quarterback’s future? Does this guarantee that 2022 will be his final season in the NFL? Finally, what now for Greg Olsen? He had been Burkhardt’s partner last season and has expressed interest in continuing to work together.

All of those answers will be addressed in time. Right now, FOX is busy celebrating.

Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.

That is going to cost them too. Andrew Marchand of The New York Post has a full salary breakdown for Brady. He will get $375 million over the course of ten years. Troy Aikman and Joe Buck, FOX’s former top NFL play-by-play team, will make a combined $33 million per year at ESPN. Brady’s annual salary will top that number on its own.

FOX’s deal with Tom Brady is similar to the one NBC made with Drew Brees before his final season in New Orleans. It allowed the quarterback one more season and promised him a nice landing spot in the media when his playing days are done. We will have to wait and see whether or not FOX will end up waiting longer than the one season NBC did.

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