MLB Just Says Yes to CBD Deals

  • MLB is opening the door to CBD brand sponsorships.
  • Brands cannot advertise products with psychoactive levels of THC.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A new product category is making its way into MLB sponsorships: CBD.

The league and its teams can now link up with brands advertising cannabidiol products, a compound that occurs naturally in cannabis, provided they have non-psychoactive levels of THC.

  • MLB requires that any sponsor CBD products will have to be approved by the commissioner’s office and be certified by global health organization NSF to have non-psychoactive THC levels.
  • No products have received the latter designation, but three-to-five are in process, according to MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden.
  • Teams will be allowed to sell stadium signage, digital activations, and — starting next year — jersey patches to CBD brands.

“Our fans are very much the kind of customers they are looking for, and we like being first,” said Garden. 

The NFL, NBA, and NHL all prohibit CBD deals. In March 2021, UFC signed a five-year sponsorship deal with U.K.-based hemp and CBD product producer Love Hemp.

“The last few companies that came to see us about this, the process of NSF certification was embraced,” said Garden. “That gave us a comfort level to be able to move forward.”

State of the States

While cannabis remains illegal federally, it is legal for adult use in 19 states, with Rhode Island joining the pack last month.

CBD products are legal in some form in almost every state, but some only allow use under very limited circumstances.