MLB to allow CBD sponsorships | Arent Fox Schiff
Recently, Major League Baseball (MLB) informed teams that cannabidiol (CBD) sponsorships were no longer prohibited and that they were free to seek sponsorships in the CBD category under certain conditions. CBD companies will also no longer be prohibited from running advertisements during MLB game telecasts.
According to MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden, in order to be allowed, CBD sponsorships must promote products certified as not containing psychoactive levels of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis. Any CBD product with THC concentrations above 0.3% would not be permitted, as it is classified as marijuana, which is a Schedule I illicit substance. All CBD sponsorships will also require approval from the Commissioner’s Office. of the MLB.
MLB is the first of the four major American sports leagues to allow CBD sponsorships. Previously, only the UFC and NASCAR opened the CBD sponsorship category for sale. And while MLB has opened the door to some CBD sponsorships, at this time neither MLB nor any of the other major US sports leagues allow sponsorships in the broader cannabis category.
This change follows MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement freeing up MLB teams to sell advertising placements on team jerseys and players’ batting helmets beginning in the 2023 season. MLB has confirmed that these positions lucrative jerseys and batting helmets will not be banned from CBD businesses. Garden noted specifically that “[MLB is] open minded to make a patch deal [in the CBD category], depending on the brand and what that brand stands for. It’s necessary [be] a brand that represents sport.
Time will tell if MLB, its teams and its fans embrace CBD sponsorships, but with cannabis industry valuations topping $13 billion in 2021, the rule change opens the door to a potentially lucrative sponsorship category. .