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Volume 21 No. 42
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Going nuts: Pats’ ‘Gronk’ to push Cheerios brand

Many have said that the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski looks more like an animated superhero than a pro football player, and at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, who can dispute that?


Further proof that’s he’s really a cartoon: “Gronk” will soon appear in a campaign for a popular kids cereal. Sources tell us that Gronkowski recently shot an ad for Honey Nut Cheerios.


Also appearing in the TV ad and accompanying campaign: actress Lucy Hale and “Friday Night Lights” star Michael B. Jordan. We recall that around six years ago, the Patriots tight end and PLB Sports created a private-label cereal, “Gronk Flakes,” sold exclusively at New England Stop & Shop stores.


HOOPS HYPE: ESPN will televise the next three iterations of the Never Forget Tribute Classic college basketball games at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., under a new three-year deal. TV coverage of the Classic, which funds education for children of the 9/11 victims, has been somewhat nomadic for the event’s first two years: It was televised by CBS and CBS Sports Network in 2016 and Fox and ESPN2 in 2017.


This year’s Classic will see UConn play Florida State and Mississippi State face Clemson on Dec. 8.


NO DOUBLE SWITCH: Despite Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s recent switch for playing contract representation to CAA’s Todd France, from ProSource’s Jeff Guerriero, he is staying with Peter Miller’s Jabez Marketing Group, Scituate, Mass., for marketing representation.


Deals for Prescott include Adidas, Pepsi, Dannon, Beats, 7-Eleven and Campbell’s Chunky Soup — all of which are slated to have new TV ads for the upcoming NFL season, Miller said. Prescott, a 2016 fourth-round draft pick, has a playing contract that expires after the upcoming season.


COMINGS & GOINGS: Justin Johnson is leaving Madison Square Garden at the end of July after six years as senior vice president, partnership marketing. No word on a replacement. … Social influencer marketing expert Courtney Worthman has joined Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing as senior vice president, brand and agency partnerships, based in New York City. She’d been with Cogent Entertainment Marketing since 2012, most recently as head of talent relations. … Meanwhile, Cogent is taking more direct aim on the sports industry with the hiring of Greg Goldring as vice president, sports marketing. Goldring, who starts at Cogent this week, was with Platinum Rye Entertainment since 2008, most recently as senior director of sports and entertainment brand marketing. … Former NFL consumer products chief Jim Connelly joins the Pro Football Hall Fame Village as chief revenue officer, following a 4 1/2-year stint at IMG as senior vice president. … Fanatics Chief Sales Officer Mike Pardini, the former president of VF’s licensed sports group, has departed Fanatics around a year after Fanatics acquired the unit from VF.


Terry Lefton can be reached at