Major League Soccer (MLS) has said that it is ‘open’ to allowing previously unapproved commercial revenue opportunities, including CBD companies, with Covid-19 set to inflict up to US$1 billion in revenue losses.
It is not clear whether the league will allow CBD companies to be promoted on club shirts or stadiums, in addition to this, whether they will allow CBD companies that sell THC to qualify for this as THC is a banned substance across the US.
MLS has allowed previously banned sponsorship opportunities, having approved partnerships with spirit categories and sports betting companies last year. Prior to the 2020 season, franchises were given the go ahead to strike deals with international partners.
In 2018, the USL’s Las Vegas Lights FC team became the first pro-American team to be sponsored by a CBD company, NuWu Cannabis Marketplace. There were reports that the San Jose Earthquakes had come to an agreement with a CBD company for naming rights to the team’s stadium which broke down due to the league refusing to change its policies on CBD sponsors. In May 2019, the UFC signed a deal with a CBD company Aurora Cannabis.
Last year, in the popular Motor Speedway race the Indy 500 in Indianapolis, cars in the race were allowed to display sponsorships on their cars of CBD companies - brands such as Defy and Craft 1861.
CBD sponsorships revenue will not cover the $1billion losses but will soften the blow. As it has become legalised, CBD is becoming increasing popular across the US as well as growing interest spreading across the rest of the world.
Author: Bradleigh Amis