By Barry Janoff
Originally Published in MediaPost
Gronkowski stars in a new series that launched this week (Jan. 25) on Verizon’s go90 digital platform, MVP — which in this case stands for "Most Valuable Partner" — a theme similar to Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs pitch their products or concepts and seek endorsements (and some financial backing) from top-name athletes.
In addition to Gronk, the panel includes Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors), Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers), NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings), Triple Crown winning jockey Victor Espinoza, Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch and former NFL star Terrell Owens.
A financial expert is also part of the panel.
MVP will consist of 18 10-12 minute episodes breaking each Wednesday, each featuring people who display their product and share what they seek from an athlete endorser. The panel then gets to question the presenter, ultimately striking a deal or sending the guest home empty-handed.
According to the promo spot, "These entrepreneurs might have new, game-changing ideas, but they need to land a brand ambassador to really take off. And with the right pitch and the right offer, these pros might just become their most valuable partner."
Initial ideas presented to Gronkowski and friends include the Man Crate (filled with "man-cave-type items" that are shipped to someone’s home), Just Food for Dogs (with the tag line "The Future is Fresh"), Leave-Up Lites (which can be adapted for holidays from Christmas to St. Patrick’s Day) and Buiced ("spelled like juiced, pronounced like boost"), a "gluten-free, GMO-free, caffeine-free, dairy-free, nut-free- soy-free" energy drink.
Shica Little, who has a Ph.D. from Clemson in organizational leadership, developed Incredi-Whip, which she described to the panel as an all-organic product that can be used as a coffee creamer or desert topping (or just squirted into your mouth, as Durant does). Spoiler alert: The product, which launched in October and is in the refrigerated aisle of such retailers as Walmart and Kroger, will be endorsed by a member of the panel.
MVP will air for free on go90.com or the go90 app (available for iOS and Android).
Verizon’s go90 streaming service launched in October 2015 and has aired such shows as The Runner from producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, The Big Papi Network with David Ortiz and Gronkowski’s free-form Uninterrupted.
It offers a free subscription to NBA League Pass via Verizon’s official alliance with the league, as well as other sports and live concerts. It also features content from the likes of Vice, Buzzfeed Comedy and Awesomeness TV.
Next month, go90 will debut QB1: Beyond The Lights from Peter Berg (director of Friday Night Lights), a ten-part series that will follow three high school quarterbacks in their senior year as they prepare for college football.
The platform is currently undergoing internal changes, including laying off some 150 employees.
Verizon is in the process of acquiring Yahoo as part of a $4.8 billion deal.