Retired from the NFL since March, shortly after his catch helped set up the only touchdown in Super Bowl LIII, which the New England Patriots won, making him a three-time champion in the league, Gronkowski announced his latest venture on Tuesday morning (Nov. 19): Gronk Beach, a music-centered festival set for Feb. 1, 2020, a day before Super Bowl LIV in Miami, from 1 to 7 p.m. at the North Beach Bandshell and Beach in Miami Beach, Florida.
“No one knows Super Bowl weekend like me,” the affable Gronkowski, aka fan favorite “Gronk,” mused to Billboard by phone on Monday. “I may not be playing, but I’m going huge with the debut of my very own music festival, one constructed on the sands of Miami Beach. And I got a lineup that I love, a lineup that brings positive energy to fans.”
Gronk Beach, for which tickets go on sale to the general public Thursday (Nov. 21) at 11 a.m. ET, originated in partnership with management and event production company Medium Rare, with the event’s VIP section a partnership with Wynn Nightlife. Joe Silberzweig and Adam Richman co-founded Medium Rare, with the pair having also launched the similarly-styled Shaq’s Fun House in tandem with former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, who, like Gronkowski, has endeared himself via both an outsized physique and personality.
Gronkowski wrapped his NFL career at age 29, finishing his nine-season run with 79 regular-season touchdowns, 12 touchdowns in 16 postseason games (the equivalent of an extra full season) and a host of records among tight ends.
Despite his three Super Bowl wins and five Pro Bowl selections, Gronkowski missed 29 regular-season games over his career, due to back, ankle, hip, forearm, knee and head injuries, all of which took a toll on his trademark exuberant outlook.
While still possessing a love for football, “I believe that it was an easy decision to walk away from the game,” he says. “The game definitely weighs on you, big-time. I just felt like it was time. I needed that time away or things were going to go downhill.”
Eight months after Gronkowski stepped away (although reportedly without yet filing official NFL retirement paperwork), rumors of his potential return to the Patriots persist, as the team, even at 9-1 on the season, is perceived as missing his unique skill set.
Is he ruling out coming back, especially if he thinks that the Patriots just might be playing in the same city as Gronk Beach the following day?
“I’m retired, for sure,” he states.
“… unless they allow me to show up a little late for the game because I’m coming from this party. I don’t know if the team would allow me to do that, just stroll in late, maybe a little hungover, and give me, I don’t know, 30 plays in the game … then that’s a different story.”
As for his former coach and quarterback, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick and Tom Brady continue their winning ways in their 20th season together.
“I don’t know, they might go forever,” Gronkowski (half?) jokes. “Coach Belichick can. He, hands-down, loves football more than anything. His knowledge is just incredible. He’ll be coaching until he’s 120 years old … and I’ll be there throwing these parties, too. He’ll be like, ‘Oh man, these Gronk parties are interrupting my game plan. The players want to go to these parties …’ “
Meanwhile, Gronk Beach isn’t the star’s first musical turn. In 2017, he appeared in the video for Katy Perry‘s “Swish Swish,” featuring Nicki Minaj, and celebrated with (and gave a piggyback ride to) Demi Lovato as she kicked off her Sorry Not Sorry House Party Tour, while this May, he flexed his acting muscles at the Billboard Music Awards.
While he’s also winning fans in his rookie season as a Fox Sports analyst, Gronkowski is looking forward to Jennifer Lopez and Shakira‘s Super Bowl LIV halftime show performance, especially since he didn’t get to attend those mini-concerts when he was a participant in the game. “They both bring great vibes,” he says. “Dancing … cheerful … and they’re both amazing performers. I’m super excited to watch it.”
As Gronk Beach reflects, Gronkowski is an avid music fan (although he admits that he needs to brush up on the playbook and better learn the artists behind most of the current songs he likes). “It kind of depends on what mood I’m in,” he says of his favorite sounds. “Sometimes rap when I’m working out, but top 40 is usually my go-to choice. I just love music. It’s like if you’re a fan of football, you just love to watch a game.
“Music drives so much in this world, in so many great ways.”