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Rob Gronkowski to host WrestleMania 36, sans fans amid coronavirus concerns

Rob Gronkowski made an appearance in Miami during Super Bowl week.Getty Images for SiriusXM

Rob Gronkowski will host WrestleMania 36 next month, according to the former New England Patriots star and World Wrestling Entertainment.

“It’s official!,” Gronkowski tweeted Wednesday night. “I’m hosting @WrestleMania this year...and it’s gonna be too big for just one night.”

In a separate statement, the WWE confirmed its annual grappling extravaganza will be live-streamed on WWE Network on two consecutive nights April 4 and April 5.

“As previously announced, only essential personnel will be on the closed set during the production of WrestleMania,” the statement said.

The event had originally been slated for one night only at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The stadium is home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team on the verge of signing Tom Brady, Gronk’s former teammate who announced Tuesday that he was leaving the Patriots after a legendary two-decade run.


But the coronavirus pandemic forced the WWE to change plans, and venues. The revamped program will air on two evenings beginning at 7 p.m. both nights and will be filmed at the company’s training facility in Orlando.

“WrestleMania will not only take place at WWE’s training facility but will include multiple locations over two nights,” the company said, adding that Gronk will disclose “more details when he appears on SmackDown this Friday on FOX” at 8 p.m.

The announcement was widely expected following recent reports that the fun-loving Gronk, who won three Super Bowls with the Pats and famously tackled WWE star Jinder Mahal during a match at WrestleMania, was nearing a deal with the WWE.

Reactions to Gronk’s tweet on Wednesday were mixed.

“Just keep the wrestlers six feet apart from each other?” said a reply tweet from Ethan Sacks, former entertainment and film editor at the New York Daily News, referring to the social distancing protocols laid out by health officials to combat the spread of the virus.


Others welcomed the news, including one man who wrote, “The worlds never been a scarier place but credit to WWE for doing their absolute best to keep us entertained/distracted.”

The carnival atmosphere of pro wrestling would appear to suit the charismatic former tight end, who’s remained in the public eye as an NFL studio analyst for Fox Sports, a host of a massive Super Bowl bacchanal on the beach in Miami, and a pitchman for CBD products, among other high-profile ventures.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.