Gronkowski still mak­ing pres­ence felt

Pawtucket Times - - SPORTS - By BARRY WILNER As­so­ci­ated Press

HOUS­TON — While his Pa­tri­ots team­mates are deal­ing with the busi­ness of try­ing to win an­other Su­per Bowl, Rob Gronkowski is han­dling busi­ness of an­other sort.

The side­lined tight end pro­duced and starred in an on­line TV se­ries that ba­si­cally is “Shark Tank For Jocks.” And while Gronk can be an over­whelm­ing force on the foot­ball field, he's some­thing of a novice at the tele­vi­sion game.

Sure, he and his broth­ers, both of whom spent time in the NFL, worked in the fam­ily busi­ness grow­ing up. But foot­ball was their call­ing.

Now, Gronk is spread­ing his en­ter­pris­ing wings with the Wed­nes­day night “MVP” se­ries on Ver­i­zon's Go90 mo­bile TV net­work . The pro­gram of­fers an in­side look at how sports stars such as An­to­nio Brown, Kevin Du­rant and Pro Foot­ball Hall of Famer Mar­shall Faulk get con­nected with brands peo­ple see and use ev­ery day.

“It's a chance to be with the ath­letes and see what their minds are think­ing, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties they get,” Gronkowski says, “and to talk about what other type of sports guys do, to col­lab­o­rate with that. Just go­ing on the show and hav­ing a good time and pos­si­bly see­ing the prod­ucts we en­dorse suc­ceed.

“It's great value for me to be on the show, meet­ing other ath­letes and po­ten­tial busi­ness part­ners.”

Gronk and the other ath­letes taped the shows in less than a week last sum­mer. To him, it was an ex­cel­lent chance to branch out and pre­pare for when foot­ball no longer is his liveli­hood.

“When the op­por­tu­nity is right, when I'm in the off­sea­son and have a whole day to my­self, a week to my­self, I'll check out those busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, and maybe some TV shows, and pos­si­bly hop on,” he says. “Foot­ball will not be around for­ever.

“MVP is a good chance to get some­thing go­ing and maybe find other op­por­tu­ni­ties in the busi­ness area.”

Gronkowski's busi­ness acu­men im­pressed Mark Pa­tri­cof, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Houli­han Lokey's Tech­nol­ogy Me­dia Tele­com Group and the res­i­dent fi­nan­cial ex­pert on “MVP.” Pa­tri­cof says his job on the show was made eas­ier by the way the ath­letes quickly grasped the tasks at hand — and whether guests mak­ing pre­sen­ta­tions had valid and prof­itable prod­ucts.

“It's fun, ed­u­ca­tional, and there's a busi­ness story there, so it's good for sports fans and any­one early in their in­vest­ing,” Pa­tri­cof says. “For Gronk and the ath­letes, I think it is a good ser­vice to them . ... We read all these things about ath­letes los­ing their money. This is a smart, in­ter­est­ing way for peo­ple to speak about what are the im­por­tant de­ci­sion points you make whether en­dors­ing or in­vest­ing in some­thing.

“Get­ting into these deals was one thing, so the ques­tions needed to be asked: 'How do Gronk and An­to­nio and Mar­shall and the guys get money out of it? How do these guys get their money back or mon­e­tize this deal?' I thought there was al­ways a healthy dia­logue in that area.”

Gronkowski still has a strong pres­ence with the Pa­tri­ots re­gard­less of his avail­abil­ity to make catches, run over de­fend­ers and score touch­downs.

“I mean, he's still walk­ing up and down through here all the time,” line­backer Rob Ninkovich says. “So when­ever he walks in we're hav­ing a great time with him. So, he's still here, just do­ing his best to re­hab. It's still great to see him, and he's al­ways in great spir­its.”

Yeah, well, that's Gronk. Whether he's of­fer­ing some ex­per­tise to his re­place­ment, Martel­lus Ben­nett — who has been su­perb for much of the sea­son — or keep­ing things light with his an­tics, he very much wants to be con­sid­ered a ma­jor part of the team.

Photo by Louri­ann Mardo-Zayat / lmzart­

Even though he won’t play in the Su­per Bowl, tight end Rob Gronkowski will be a fix­ture dur­ing the week in Hous­ton.

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