Today, go90 debuts “MVP”, or “Most Valuable Partner,” a “Shark Tank”-esque reality show hosted by Super Bowl-winning tight end Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots) where start-up founders pitch world-class athletes for brand ambassadorship, and in some cases investment deals.
Some of the All-Star athletes on the 14-episode series include Kevin Durant, Olympian Jennie Finch, Antonio Brown, Terrell Owens and NFL Hall of Famer, on-air commentator, and featured MVP, Marshall Faulk. Mark Patricof, a media and entertainment investment banker, also serves as a financial advisor to the athletes on air.
In a phone interview, Faulk told VideoInk that he was particularly excited about the format given his prior experience having worked on traditional network television.
“In most shows, we’re brought on as talent. They have us show up and do what we do. But with this show, it was really cool because we were able to share ideas and feedback with the producers and have it actually used in the show,” he said.
And Faulk is no stranger to being on-air. For the last 5 years, he’s served as an NFL Network analyst and commentator. But for these athletes, having a series debut digitally is a new fare.
According to Faulk, who also has a teenage son that watches media on mobile and digital, the living room is still very much a part of their household. So when he was presented with the show, Faulk said “It was interesting understanding digital and that it was full speed ahead with the platform so quickly” but that, for the most part, there wasn’t a significant difference between taping on television and this series.
“While traditional Hollywood has dabbled [in similar formats], these [athletes] came on board because this is a network quality show airing digitally,” said Russ Axelrod, creator and Executive Producer on “MVP”.
“Right now there’s a fascination with the business of sports and startup culture. This show sits as that cross-section,” he added. “So whether we are following the business dealings of athletes off the field or watching shows like “Shark Tank”, consumer interest for the business side is higher than ever.”
This rang true for Gronkowski who said that “professional athletes…get pitched investment opportunities all the time, but ‘MVP’ gives me and the guys a chance to actually meet these entrepreneurs in person, get to know them a little, ask the tough questions, try the products, all in a fun, competitive setting.”
Among the startups featured in the series are mobile gaming console Gamevice, featured in episode one, subscription gift company for dudes, Mancrates, and healthy alternative whipped cream Incrediwhip.
Highlights, according to Faulk, are watching Rob Gronkowski’s own family pitch him on a business idea, popsicles made entirely of fruit, a energy-boosting powder that Faulk claims to use in place of coffee when he’s watching 12 hours of football every Sunday and an all-natural fruit and vegetable cleaning product inspired by food-poisoning from unclean produce.
“MVP” and produced by INE Entertainment and Jamie Patricof’s Hunting Lane Films. Episodes air weekly starting today on go90 across its mobile and desktop destinations.