Major League Baseball has officially approved CBD sponsorships for team jersey patches and more, it was announced during a conference call Tuesday, according to Terry Lofton of Sports Business Journal.
That said, CBD sponsorships can only be sold if the company is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation. The company's CBD products cannot contain psychoactive levels of THC, which is the main compound found in cannabis.
"We've been watching this category for a while and waiting for it to mature to the point where we can get comfortable with it," MLB Chief Revenue Officer Noah Garden said. "... It's a good opportunity for us and the clubs. The last few companies that came to see us about this, the process of NSF certification was embraced. That gave us a comfort level to be able to move forward."
Garden added that between three and five brands are in the process of receiving NSF certification. In addition to NSF certification, the commissioner's office will need to approve the deal.
Beginning with the 2023 season, MLB jerseys will feature jersey patch sponsorships, and CBD companies will be allowed to make deals for those patches. The NBA already has jersey patch sponsorships, and the NHL is joining MLB in adding them in 2022-23.
"We are open-minded to doing a patch deal here, depending on the brand and what that brand represents," said Garden. "It has to have a brand that represents sports."
In addition, CBD companies will also be able to air advertisements during MLB games. That said, it's unclear what the league and its teams could receive in compensation for CBD advertisements.
The allowance of CBD sponsorships will be revolutionary for MLB and other professional sports leagues in the United States. According to Lofton, an "optimistic estimate" has the global CBD market at $4.9 billion.
A number of professional athletes already use and advocate for CBD products, including professional golfer Rickie Fowler, former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski, Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson and United State Women's National Team soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
A big reason why athletes use CBD is because it can help relieve pain, according to Healthline. It can also help with some mental health disorders and improve sleep.
In December 2019, MLB removed cannabis from its "drugs of abuse list," so it's no surprise the league is now allowing CBD sponsorships.