CBD Enterprises’ Major Sports Sponsorships and Celeb Endorsements

Exploring the Growing Trend of CBD Sponsorships in the Sports Industry


The surge in venture capital has allowed CBD companies to seek new avenues for endorsements and sponsorships within the sports industry. With the legalization of hemp after the 2018 Farm Bill, the market for Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is exploding. This article delves into the world of CBD sponsorships, the challenges faced by companies seeking approval from major sports leagues, and notable endorsements in the sports industry.

Breaking Barriers: The First CBD Sponsorship in IndyCar

In a historic moment, driver RC Enerson made waves in advertising when he drove a Carlin team car emblazoned with the logo of Craft 1861 during the NTT IndyCar Series open test at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) track in Austin, Texas. Craft 1861, a company specializing in CBD lotions, creams, tinctures, and edibles, became the first CBD company to sponsor a team in the prestigious Indy 500. However, obtaining approval from IndyCar was no easy feat. Craft 1861 had to navigate through various legal and regulatory frameworks to ensure compliance in different states and even Canada. The collaboration with NBC also required careful approval.

The Emergence of CBD in Professional Sports

CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory properties and pain-relieving benefits have garnered attention from professional athletes across different sports. Terrell Davis, a Hall of Fame NFL player, who holds the record for most rushing touchdowns in the postseason, expressed his enthusiasm for CBD, lamenting the fact that it wasn’t available during his playing career. Davis endorsed Defy, a CBD-infused sports beverage. Similarly, the Big3 basketball league, featuring former NBA players, embraced CBD usage in 2018 and partnered with cbdMD, a prominent CBD company.

Golf and CBD: A Budding Partnership

Golfer Bubba Watson became a multi-year ambassador for cbdMD after experiencing first-hand the benefits of their products. His endorsement highlights the growing recognition of CBD’s therapeutic potential within the golfing community. However, while CBD is legal in all 50 states, professional golfing bodies remain cautious due to the presence of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. The PGA, for instance, prohibits THC but does not have specific regulations against CBD. The suspension of Robert Garrigus after failing a marijuana test underscores the PGA’s stance on THC within the sport.

Major League Sports and CBD Sponsorships

Despite the widespread legalization of CBD, major league sports such as the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL still have reservations about allowing CBD company sponsors. This stands in contrast to the prevalent presence of beer companies and casino sponsorships within these leagues. While CBD is legal in all 50 states, the presence of trace amounts of THC in certain CBD products remains a concern for leagues that strictly prohibit it. Nevertheless, it is likely that CBD sponsorships will gradually find their place in major league sports, as the industry evolves and more scientific research backs the potential benefits of CBD.


CBD sponsorships in the sports industry are gaining momentum, with companies like Craft 1861, Defy, and cbdMD leading the way. Professional athletes from various sports have embraced CBD for its alleged anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. While major league sports leagues have been cautious about CBD sponsorships due to concerns over THC, CBD’s widespread legality and growing acceptance suggest that it is only a matter of time before CBD companies secure sponsorship deals with these leagues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Are CBD sponsorships legal in all states?

Yes, CBD is legal in all 50 states. However, the strict regulations surrounding THC content in CBD products may impact the acceptance of CBD sponsorships in certain sports leagues.

Q2: Why are major league sports leagues hesitant about CBD sponsorships?

While CBD itself is legal, many sports leagues have concerns over the presence of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, in certain CBD products. Leagues often have strict policies against the use of THC.

Q3: Which sports league was the first to embrace CBD sponsorships?

The Big3 basketball league, founded by Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube, was among the first to allow CBD usage and partner with cbdMD as their Official CBD Partner.

Q4: Can CBD help athletes with pain management?

Many athletes have reported using CBD for pain relief and inflammation management. However, it is important to note that further scientific research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness and potential benefits.

Q5: Will CBD sponsorships become more prevalent in the future?

As CBD continues to gain popularity and scientific research on its benefits expands, it is likely that CBD sponsorships will become more common in the sports industry. The evolving landscape of regulations and public perception will play a key role in shaping the future of CBD sponsorships in major league sports.

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Doug I. Jones

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