Inside Rob Gronkowski’s FanDuel Sportsbook Retirement Party

Whether it lasts this time or not, nobody throws a retirement party like Gronk – make it the Gronks.

Rob Gronkowski and Family – Dad, Gordie, Brother Gordie Jr., Mom Diane, Gronk’s model girlfriend Camile Kostek and friends (brothers Dan, Chris and Glenn were not visible) have shut down Mohegan’s FanDuel Sportsbook Sun in Uncasville, CT on Saturday.

Yes, the Gronks have done what only the Gronks can do: put a stop to the hot and ever-expanding sports betting business. No bets were taken at the windows during the two-hour celebration of the four-time Super Bowl champion’s career.

Bet on his future? These are also off the chart. He swears that’s it, even though “Tom called me five times”. This adds to Brady’s most recent attempt to lure him out of retirement via Twitter.

While Brady was likely tucked away in bed in his Brady-branded boxers at 9 p.m. ahead of the Bucs’ Week 1 game against the Cowboys, Gronk was — being Gronk.

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Happy retirement, Gronk… Again

Gronk’s cake, a tiered fondant surrounded by 500 cupcakes, said it all: “Happy Retirement, Again, Rob Gronkowski.” Yes, both of these statements are true. Gronk is always happy. And there could always be another retreat.

Although, maybe, just maybe, it was a legit retirement party.

The future Hall of Famer said his mind and body don’t seem like they should prepare to play a game despite what the schedule says.

Time will tell if that’s really it for Gronk. Either way, it was a hell of a hassle. FanDuel Sportsbook General Manager Brad Bryant summed it up best: “It’s just about having a good time. I can’t worry about that (Gronk returns). If that happens, we will do another.

And who’s going to say no to another Gronk party? Heck, my ears are still ringing as I write this after 120 minutes of hits from DJ Whoo Kid, whose popularity and fame grew since his debut as 50 Cent’s DJ in the early 2000s. My glasses are still steamy from the champagne sprayed by Gronk and Gordie Jr.

Ball so hard

It all started at 9 p.m. ET, when about 300 people slowly poured into the 11,000-square-foot FanDuel Sportsbook, which features a stunning 140-foot LED screen (“the largest on the East Coast,” says public relations manager Cody Chapman).

Fans walked in, appropriately enough, on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Ball So Hard…” hook. An argument can be made that no offensively talented player in NFL history has played as hard as Gronk. Few people have partied that hard either.

After a short red carpet photoshoot, Gronk, his family and friends headed to the elevated area marked off in the center of the sports betting site. There they drank and danced to Rod Stewart’s “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” “Poison,” and “If You Think I’m Sexy.”

There was a career highlight for Gronk played on the massive video wall and huge roars as the NFL Network anchor recounted his career accomplishments.

Gronk signed autographs and threw a soccer ball with the fans. Then things started to get rowdy when Gronk and Gordie Jr. (at Whoo Kid’s request) sprayed bottles of champagne on the crowd in front of them, much to the delight of many.

Soon, Gronk headed upstairs to the VIP section to mingle with people who likely paid little more than the $75 entry fee to get closer to the four-time All-Pro. Just like that, the energy was sapped from the lower level.

Gronk came back down about 20 minutes later (a huge crowd formed around him as he walked back to the cordoned off VIP area; it was as if he was a wrestler walking towards the ring). Suddenly, the party resumed. This is the Gronk effect.

Also the Gronk effect? Expenses. It’s unlikely that many people will pay $75 to attend Julian Edelman’s retirement party, for example. But they got their money’s worth.

Gronk was more than accommodating and the gift bag was pretty cool (a t-shirt, shot glass, 25% off Tommy Bahama and a cooler mug). Entrees were excellent: lobster rolls and Italian mini grinders, among other options. The beer was about $8 (a little pricey but hey, it’s a casino).

Everyone was treated to a glass of Luc Belaire champagne and there were buckets of Body Armor (the strawberry banana was very good) and Monster energy drinks. The music was top notch and, of course, that wasn’t the end of it.

A little before 11 p.m., Gronk suddenly made his way out of the sports betting site and onto the casino floor, high-five fans (there was very little security around him and Gronk didn’t care).

Where was he going? Wherever he wanted – he is Gronk. Everyone quickly understood that it was a signal that the party was coming to an end. Gronk was heading to the planned after party at the Avalon club. Shortly after, DJ Whoo Kid shut down his laptop and the music stopped.

As for the after party at Avalon? You’ll have to ask someone who was there. This writer doesn’t party like a Gronk anymore. I’ll catch the next one.

Joseph K. Bennett