Ever since the NFL stopped testing its players for cannabis-use, there has been a stigma shift within the sports industry and cannabis brands want in. There is now a great opportunity for cannabis-related brand partnerships and player endorsements that have ceased to exist until recently. With Americans spending around $25 billion dollars on cannabis in 2021, marketing cannabis to sports fanatics is a great next step for the industry.
Sports fanatics look to their favorite teams and players as a sense of their identity. The communities that are created from each sports franchise are a reason why people get so emotionally invested in the sports they follow. Marketing team gear and individual player’s jerseys have become big business with players receiving a percentage of its sales every season. This is not just limited to fan gear, there are also major brands that star athletes become spokespersons for, such as Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes with State Farm commercials. Cannabis brands can learn from these existing partnerships when seeking out current or retired players as spokespeople.
It has been estimated that 80% of NFL players are currently using cannabis. With great healing properties such as pain relief and lowering anxiety, it is no surprise that players turn to natural products after physically and mentally intense games. The players who benefit from cannabis and its medicinal properties are valuable spokespeople for the cannabis industry. Brands need to tap into this potential by partnering with players and sending them products to try out. Another way to reach consumers is to partner with individual teams and include packaging that is directly targeted to the fans.
The cannabis industry is not just partnering with the NFL but rather have started cannabis-related endorsements across American sports leagues as a whole. Synchronicity, a hemp-oil brand, has cut a deal with the United Soccer League. “The USL has 47 professional clubs in the U.S. and Canada, more than 180 amateur and youth clubs, and its championship and League One are broadcast by ESPN. The four-year partnership will see the products featured on USL stadium signage, social media channels, website, and app network” (Ganjapreneur). These natural products will garner coverage at many fans beloved stadiums and is bound to bring sales and brand awareness to the fans who will support any brand associated with their team.
Another way to reach fans is for dispensaries to team up with former players. Former MLB pitcher Matt Garza, who played for the Tampa Bay Rays, is opening a dispensary in his hometown of Fresno, California. Having a sports celebrity at the core of the cannabis business is a sure way to bring in sales and messaging about the benefits of cannabis for athletes.
If you work in the cannabis industry and would like to know more about how to market to sports fans, please schedule a free consultation with Oster and Associates.