CBD drinks maker inks sponsorship deal with baseball’s Chicago Cubs

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A Chicago-based drinks maker has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Chicago Cubs in a first-ever deal involving a producer of CBD-containing products and an individual American baseball team.

Under the terms of the deal, the National League club will offer canned CBD beverages and display signs advertising Mynd Drinks at the Cubs’ home field, Wrigley Stadium. The Cubs also secured international marketing rights to Mynd products in the United Kingdom for the 2023 baseball regular season.

The products, marketed as a wellness brand, are made by Mynd Drinks International, which started making the plant-based line of beverages in 2019.

MLB’s second CBD deal

The arrangement is the second involving Major League Baseball and a CBD producer after Colorado-based Charlotte’s Web signed a $30.5 million league-wide sponsorship deal with MLB in October of last year.

“When MLB opened the CBD category for its clubs, it allowed us to explore new partnership opportunities and offerings,” said Alex Seyferth, the Cubs’ vice president of corporate partnerships.

MLB has stood out among other professional sports leagues in its approach to cannabis. For example, it clarified in a 2020 policy memo that players will not be punished for using cannabis away from work. However, individual MLB players may not enter sponsorship deals with cannabis companies or hold investments in the industry, under league policy.

League’s standards

CBD is not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. But MLB is allowing the CBD sponsorships if products are approved under the league’s scientific standards by NSF International, an independent consumer safety and product-testing organization designated by the MLB. Products must also qualify under MLB’s policies on banned performance-enhancing substances.

In the Charlotte’s Web deal with the MLB, the Colorado company is paying the league $30.5 million plus a 10% royalty on sales, and took 4% of the company’s shares to become the “Official CBD of MLB.”

The Cubs deal follows an agreement recently reached between the National Basketball Association and its players union that allows the players to invest in and promote cannabis companies.

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