Evidence based

Why Are CBD Companies Sponsoring Professional Sports?

CBD brands are becoming some of the richest companies in the world and have officially begun entering the world of professional sports.

Here’s why.

Article By
Justin Cooke , last updated on August 9, 2020

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The CBD industry is booming. The market is expected to reach $22 billion in annual profits by the year 2022.

With so much cash floating around it’s no surprise CBD companies are looking for a way to invest in it. One popular avenue is in the professional sports arena — gaining rich CBD brands a ton of attention and millions of new followers in the process.

Aurora Cannabis — one of the leading growers and cannabis distributors in North America — recently signed a partnership agreement with the UFC to conduct research involving the use of CBD for muscle recovery and athletic performance.

Alexey Oleynik, a top UFC fighter, recently won sponsorship by TFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ — one of the largest investment funds focusing on the marijuana marketplace.

But it’s not just cannabis growers and investment funds focusing on major sports sponsorships — CBD brands themselves have stitched their branding into the uniforms of baseball players, painted logos on the sides of racecars, and printed their branding into the canvas of the UFC octagon.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the companies leading realm of professional sponsorship. We’ll discuss who they’re sponsoring and what this means for the industry at large.

First of All, Why Are CBD Companies Sponsoring Sporting Events and Athletes?

Companies have been sponsoring sporting events for decades. There are hundreds of companies currently sponsoring sporting events — spanning all categories of business.

Everything from insurance and banking, to shoe and clothing manufacturers, are sponsoring athletes, teams, or leagues.

Why do they do it?

Companies choose to sponsor sporting events for two reasons — to drive brand awareness and simply because it’s fun.

Let’s cover the first one more closely.

Large sporting events can draw millions of viewers. Participating in athletic sponsorships allows brands to reach a wider audience that normally wouldn’t come across their products or services. 

Sponsorship allows fans to become familiar with the brand while watching their chosen sporting event. Humans are creatures of comfort.  When we’re faced with a choice between a brand we’re used to seeing on our team’s jersey or something new — we’ll likely go with what we’re familiar with. It’s one of the simplest marketing tactics.

Sponsoring international sporting events is also a bonus to the company’s reputation on the world stage — which in itself drives more sales by solidifying the brands’ credibility in the eyes of potential customers.

A recent report published in the Harvard Business Review titled “How Global Brands Compete”, pointed out that most people believe large companies provide a higher quality product. So if a company can position themselves as a global brand, it gives them the added illusion of being higher quality than competitors.

As the CBD market continues to grow and drive ever-increasing profits, it’s no surprise these companies are stepping up their marketing strategies by spending millions on sponsorship agreements — if only to compete with other global CBD brands.

How Much Do Professional Sponsorships Cost?

There’s no limit to what can be spent on a sponsorship agreement. It all comes down to the art of negotiation.

Some companies sponsor local sports and athletes by simply sending them free gear, while others spend tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

PepsiCo, Inc. for example, spent over $360 million in 2016 on various sponsorships in the NFL, MLB, and NBA.

Here Are Some of the Top Spenders in the Professional Sports Sponsorship Arena:

  1. PepsiCo Inc — $360 Million
  2. Anheuser-Busch — $350 Million
  3. Coca-Cola Co. — $265 Million
  4. Nike Inc. — $260 Million
  5. Adidas North America Inc. — $195 Million
  6. AT&T — $195 Million
  7. Ford Motor Co. — $175 Million
  8. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, Inc. — $165 Million
  9. MillerCoors LLC — $120 Million
  10. Microsoft Corp. — $90 Million

The list goes on and on. Companies are spending truckloads to get their names associated with top-performing athletes.

CBD Companies Are Sponsoring Professional Athletes

As CBD supplements continue to gather interest, businesses operating in this space are competing with other well-established companies for the global market. In order to compete, companies like this will need to step into bigger arenas to reach ever-larger audiences — spending hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars in the process.

Here are some of the top CBD companies sponsoring professional sporting events:

1. cbdMD

cbdMD is one of the bigger names in the CBD space. They produce a variety of products made for athletes like their CBD Freeze line of topicals. These roll-on or squeeze bottle topicals are designed to ease muscle and joint pain, and speed recovery after an injury or rigorous workout.

The company also makes tinctures, capsules, gummies, bath bombs, and even CBD products for pets.

Recently, cbdMD signed a partnership agreement with the MMA organization, Bellator, which is one of the leading MMA leagues in the world. Bellator is owned and operated by Viacom Inc.

The president of cbdMD — Caryn Dunayer — was recorded during a press release saying that the goal of the partnership is to “educate athletes and fans about the multiple benefits of CBD.”

This new agreement will give cbdMD advertising rights inside the ring and provides fighters with CBD-infused products to support recovery after a fight.

On a related note, cbdMD sponsors other athletes like Bubba Watson — a professional golfer playing on the PGA Tour.

It seems this international CBD brand will be expanding into more athlete-inspired CBD products in the near future, so stay tuned.

cbdMD

4.5 / 5

2. Infinite CBD

Infinite CBD is one of the leading manufacturers of athletics-inspired CBD products. They make various CBD-infused shots designed to support both the recovery side (Rest Shot) and the workout side (Energy Shot) of an athletic training regimen.

The company sells products like their Nano Freezing Point Cream for soothing sore muscles and a Nano Enhancer to add CBD to your pre or post-workout shake.

Infinite CBD was recently bought by Wealthcraft Capital Inc. for $2.5 million USD.

As a CBD brand specializing in athletic support, it’s fitting the company also sponsors a handful of MMA fighters, boxers, and other athletes.

Infinite CBD Sponsors the Following Athletes:

  • Eryk Anders (UFC Fighter)
  • Raquel Pennington (UFC Fighter)
  • Tecia Torres (UFC Fighter)
  • Eric Grant (NMEF Fighter)
  • Marie Llewellyn (Health Influencer)
  • Yasmin Anders (IFBB Athlete)
  • Scott Caulfield (Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at NCSA)
Infinite CBD

4.67 / 5

3. Flav

Flav is a major player in the organized sports space. They sponsored the first High Rollers BJJ Tournament — a cannabis-infused Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament — Fighters smoke cannabis before competing to win a pound of high-grade marijuana. Eddie Bravo was the MC for the event.

This tournament was dubbed “The dopest martial arts tournament in the world”.

This company offers a variety of CBD products, including tinctures, time-release capsules, vape cartridges, metered-dose pens, gummies, chocolate bars, and mood pens. Their lineup is targeted at the general CBD user, but they also offer a handful of athlete-specific products — like their transdermal CBD patch and roll on topical gels.

Flav is big in the MMA world and has an impressive lineup of sponsored athletes in the space.

Flav Athletes Include:

  • Andrew Tabiti (Boxer)
  • Joe Schilling (Bellator Fighter)
  • Yancy Medeiros (UFC Fighter)
  • Daniel Straus (Bellator MMA Fighter)
  • Jordan Young  (Bellator Fighter)
  • Tyrell Fortune (Bellator Fighter)
  • King Mo (Bellator Fighter)
  • Johnny Eblen (Bellator Fighter)

4. DEFY

DEFY is an American CBD company specializing in hemp-infused sports drinks. They call these concoctions “hemp extract performance beverages”.

The founder, Terrell Davis, first started using hemp extracts like CBD back in 2017 which he claims “changed his life forever.” This experience prompted him to produce a line of hemp extract beverages with one purpose and one purpose only — to enhance an athlete’s performance and recovery.

DEFY is new to the professional sports space but is beginning to make a name for themselves. They’re one of the main sponsors for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports — a contender of the IndyCar series. This is the premier level of open-wheel racing in North America.

The team behind DEFY is working on attaining more sponsorships in the realm of professional sports in the near future — watch this space.

5. Lazarus Naturals

Lazarus Naturals offers a diverse product lineup including CBD oils, topicals, isolates, capsules, and more. The company is known for its price and quality that’s hard to beat.

Lazarus Naturals stepped into the world of professional sporting sponsorships with its hometown baseball team, the Portland Pickles.

Although the financial details are kept under wraps, the two-year sponsorship with the Portland Pickles is reported to be significant.

As part of the deal, you can expect to buy Lazarus Naturals products at the Walker Stadium.

Lazarus Naturals

4.17 / 5

6. Medterra

Medterra is another international CBD manufacturer operating in both North America and Europe. This company moved into the professional golf space with three major moves.

  1. The first big move was creating the company’s golf division. To lead the charge, Medterra hired Nike’s former Director of Sales, Greg Moore as their VP of sales in the newly formed golf division. Moore has well over 25 years of experience specific to the golf industry.
  2. Medterra recently signed three PGA tour contestants — Lucas Glover, Charley Hoffman, and Morgan Hoffmann to carry the Medterra name through the tournament.
  3. The company partnered with Worldwide Golf Shops the parent company to popular golf shops throughout America, including Edwin Watts Golf, Roger Dunn Golf Shops, The Golf Mart, Golfers Warehouse, Wan’s Golf Shop.

Medterra offers a range of CBD-infused products, including their Rapid Cooling Cream which is well-suited to muscle and joint pain inherent to golfing. They also carry various CBD capsules and tinctures with similar reported benefits.

Medterra

4.5 / 5

The Future of CBD in Sports

CBD has many reported benefits and has the potential to reach billions of dollars in sales annually within the next few years. As CBD companies grow larger every year, they’re forced to compete with other big-name industries through sponsorship of top-level sports.

Sponsorships like this give CBD companies a much larger audience around the world and increase awareness of the brand.

We’re excited to see companies like Medterra, Infinite CBD, cbdMD, Flav, Lazarus Naturals, DEFY, and more step into the professional sports arena. As CBD enthusiasts, we’re even more excited to see new and innovative products roll out as a result.

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