The Chicago Cubs are partnering with wellness and recovery brand Mynd Drinks to offer CBD drinks at Wrigley Field home games for the 2023 Major League Baseball season. The deal establishes fellow Chicago-based Mynd Drinks as the “Official CBD Partner of the Cubs” and makes the team the first in the MLB to partner with a CBD brand.
Under the new agreement announced last week, Mynd Drinks will market its CBD beverages at Wrigley Field and have various signage elements at the venue, including on-field baseline signage and other ballpark features. The deal also includes international marketing rights in the United Kingdom for the 2023 regular season, a first for the Cubs.
“When MLB opened the CBD category for its clubs, it allowed us to explore new partnership opportunities and offerings,” Alex Seyferth, the Chicago Cubs vice president of corporate partnerships, said in a statement from the league on April 7. “We’re proud to be the first club to partner with a CBD company, but what was more important to us was making sure that the brand was the right fit. Mynd Drinks is a Chicago-based company that promotes overall wellness and helps ease the stressors of everyday life, just like a Friday 1:20 game at Wrigley Field.”
Mynd Drinks offers three flavors of plant-based, hemp-infused wellness and recovery drinks that help people relax, refresh and recover. The launch of the company’s partnership with the Cubs includes online content to help fans of the team relax and unwind, including a guided meditation on YouTube narrated by Cubs radio play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes and a “Sounds of Wrigley Field” Spotify playlist.
“We are so thrilled and honored to announce our partnership with the legendary Chicago Cubs, and that they share our vision of health and wellness in major league sports,” said Simon Allen, CEO of Mynd Drinks.
Sports Leagues Back Away From Cannabis Prohibition
The deal between the Chicago Cubs and Mynd Drinks is the latest example of professional sports leagues’ changing stance on cannabis.
In June 2022, MLB changed its policy that allows sponsorship deals with hemp-based CBD companies for teams and the league. Four months later, the league announced that it had struck a deal with Colorado-based Charlotte’s Web, making the company’s products the “Official CBD of Major League Baseball.” Bill Morningstar, the MLB’s executive vice president of sponsorship sales, noted that the deal marked the first time that a professional sports league had signed a sponsorship agreement with a CBD company.
“It’s always great to be first, but it’s more important to get it right,” Morningstar said in an MLB statement last October. “That was really what drove this, making sure that we did the education, and we understood exactly what the product stood for and what the company stands for…We feel really confident that we took the steps, the time, to get everything in line.”
Charlotte’s Web CEO Jacques Tortoroli notes that the deal will increase public awareness of the health and wellness benefits of cannabidiol (CBD).
“This partnership is a natural evolution in the growth of the industry and our business, and in elevating the quality of life for MLB’s players and 180 million-strong community,” Tortoroli said. “Launching co-branded sports products will amplify each of our wellness missions. Most importantly, we’ll collaborate on education for teams, for players, for fans, for the general public, about what CBD is, and what CBD is not. It’s a unique, really only CBD choice of partner for Charlotte’s Web.”
On April 1, 2023, the National Basketball Association and the players union reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement that reportedly ends the NBA’s prohibition on cannabis for players. According to terms of the deal revealed by The Athletic, players will also be permitted to invest in cannabis ventures and sign endorsement deals with regulated cannabis companies.
The National Hockey League also ended cannabis prohibition for its athletes, no longer listing the plant as a banned substance. NHL players who test positive for cannabis use are not subject to disciplinary action, although players with THC levels the league considers “abnormally high” may be referred to a voluntary treatment program.
Additionally, the National Football League’s collective bargaining agreement for the 2020-21 season relaxed the league’s cannabis policy, allowing players to use the plant during the off-season while maintaining prohibition throughout the season of play. The agreement also increased the level of THC that can be present in a player’s drug test before triggering sanctions from the league and ends game suspensions for all positive drug tests, with players facing fines instead.
As the health benefits of hemp and cannabis become more well-known and accepted among the general public, it makes sense for professional sports to evolve alongside legalization. And apart from updating policies for players, nothing signals change more than an official partnership between professional sports clubs and CBD and THC brands.