Changes in laws and reinterpretation of industry standards have resulted in new sponsorship products and brands. CBD is a newcomer when it comes to large-scale sports marketing. More and more athletes are featured in commercials for major beer or cannabidiol brands. That is not surprising since gold is made in this industry.
Among other things, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the Farm Bill, amended the Controlled Substances Act to remove hemp-derived CBD from the law. CBD is a popular additive in wellness products as it is said to have calming and analgesic effects. In addition, the drug does not contain THC, the chemical compound that causes hallucinations.
Although CBD is legal under federal law, the sale and use of hemp-derived products are highly regulated: the federal agencies that regulate the distribution and advertising of consumer products, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission ( FTC), also regulate CBD products. Both the FDA (which has not given general approval for CBD products) and the FTC have issued warning letters to companies that make CBD products. The former disputes the safety of such products and the latter denounces the marketing of these products.
Large companies join CBD
While there is much uncertainty about both the efficacy and legality of CBD products, the CBD industry is predicted to become a multi-billion dollar business. US retailers including American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Walgreens, CVS, GNC and Ulta Beauty have already introduced CBD products to their stores in several states. With this, various CBD companies try to bring their products to professional sports and close large sponsor deals. For example: Defy, a CBD product company, recently signed John Isner for an endorsement deal, making him the first professional tennis player to endorse a CBD product. Abacus Health Partners, makers of the CBDMEDIC products, recently captured former NFL All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski. Aurora Cannabis has partnered with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) on a long-term agreement to investigate the relationship between CBD products and athletes wellness and recovery. These are just a few examples.
Marketing for CBD
CBD also offers great opportunities and challenges in the field of sponsorship. Because the FDA will not grant general approval for CBD products, but will evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. And while the FTC keeps a close eye on all advertising claims about CBD products, the drug is in a tricky zone. Although both the World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Anti-Doping Agency have removed CBD from their list of prohibited substances. Nevertheless, in large team sports and competitions such as the NFL, NBA and Majaor League Baseball, the drug is not yet tolerated.
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