NEW YORK – Major League Baseball (MLB) has become the first major sports league to establish a sponsorship agreement with a hemp company. Today’s joint announcement of a multi-year strategic partnership between MLB and Charlotte’s Web will provide the brand with a unique claim to being the “Official CBD of Major League Baseball.”
The partnership also will provide Charlotte’s Web with a significant brand presence at MLB’s biggest events, including the World Series, post-season games, and throughout All-Star week. This includes ballpark activations and other marketing opportunities to connect the CBD brand with 180 million American baseball fans on a regular basis.
“As a leader in the CBD category, with products that provide health and wellness benefits, Charlotte’s Web is a welcome addition to the MLB family, representing a landmark partnership in baseball and sports,” said Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer. “Charlotte’s Web products that receive the NSF [National Sanitation Foundation] Certified for Sport® designation have met the highest safety standards and can be promoted across MLB events and media platforms. We are excited about the possibilities this partnership offers as CBD becomes a more widely adopted part of the health and wellness regimen of our players and fans.”
The new NSF-certified product line, Charlotte’s Web SPORT – Daily Edge, will feature the MLB’s silhouetted batter logo on the packaging for gummies, topicals, oral sprays, and tinctures.
“NSF is proud to play a role in this historic next chapter of America’s favorite pastime,” said John Travis, principal technical manager at NSF. “MLB showed great trust in the NSF mark earlier this year when it named NSF Certified for Sport as the standard CBD brands must meet in order to sponsor MLB and its teams. The Charlotte’s Web and MLB partnership promotes clean sport and closely aligns with NSF’s mission to improve human health worldwide.”
Charlotte’s Web grabbed national attention in 2013 when CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported on a young Colorado girl named Charlotte Figi who suffered as many as 300 seizures a week, despite being on seven pharmaceutical medications. Hemp-derived CBD provided by the Stanley brothers, who founded Charlotte’s Web, limited her seizures to once a month, and her story had a significant impact on the national view of cannabis as a suitable medicine for epilepsy and other disorders. As of 2022’s second quarter, Charlotte’s Web was the largest CBD company by revenue in the U.S., according to Brightfield Group.
“We applaud MLB for being the first-mover in professional sports CBD and are thrilled to welcome their league as a respected strategic partner,” said Charlotte’s Web Chief Executive Officer Jacques Tortoroli. “Bridging our industry-leading brands with science, innovation, and education, this pioneering partnership validates Charlotte’s Web’s core business principle and founding mission to open access to safe, quality, and consistent CBD through our proprietary hemp genetics and industry-forging vision.”
Other sporting organizations including the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Professional Golf Association (PGA), Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) already have allowed CBD sponsorships to some degree, but until now, all major North American leagues have prohibited advertising with CBD companies. While Charlotte’s Web is the first, the company is unlikely to be the last. Earlier this year, MLB approved the category, opening the door for the league and its teams to sell CBD sponsorships.
“Nature is the most intelligent and advanced technology system in our world, and when we work with nature for health and innovate through the lens of community care, we can truly redefine what it means to be well as an athlete,” said Jared Stanley, cofounder and chief operating officer at Charlotte’s Web. “This is game-changing, and I am excited by what we can accomplish with the MLB partnership.”
Companies interested in sponsoring an MLB team must have their CBD products Certified for Sport by the NSF. The onerous process includes a multi-step testing regimen, and finished goods must undergo a litany of tests and formulation reviews. All products must be manufactured in GMP-compliant facilities and may not contain even trace amounts of THC. The certification process can take several months and cost more than $15,000 per product SKU.