If you know me then you know I’m a firm believer in the complementary nature of CBD and athletics both on and off the field. But what do the experts of those industries have to say about it?
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Gary Vaynerchuk and his brother AJ. Gary is a renowned marketing guru who, among other things, is chairman of media and communications holding company VanyerX, CEO of VaynerMedia, co-owner of Green Street Agency, a full-service creative agency dedicated to cannabis and bestselling author. AJ runs VaynerSports, an agency representing some of today’s top athletic talent.
Both Gary and AJ are no strangers to looking into the future to find the best opportunities to pour their entrepreneurial energy into. So, I was excited to share with you their thoughts on the intersection of CBD and Sports and how someone interested in CBD, or any emerging industry for that matter, can bring value to the market.
TD: AJ, you founded VaynerSports as a way of combining your two biggest passions—business and sports. How do you see CBD playing a role in sports today and in the future?
AV: One of our clients, Derrick Morgan, has been a big advocate for CBD in terms of pain management and its benefits. I think it will be very interesting with the collective bargaining agreement coming up in 2021. I don’t have all the answer but part of me thinks this will be one of those things’ ownership might relax on for the players.
TD: As a big proponent of CBD I think it’s all about education, the trainers, doctors and other stakeholders on why it’s a viable solution for things like recovery. What do you think it will take to gain mainstream acceptance?
AV: It’s removing stigma, stigma is the issue.
GV: The single reason I said yes to buying the sports agency. I thought to myself “For this investment, even if it goes to zero, what I am going to learn about being pro player for when I’m an owner will be so valuable”. To me when ownership and players have chemistry, you can do so much good.
AV: The momentum is there.
GV: The momentum is absurd. From a political standpoint, there is always a chance it (CBD) can be politicized, but from a commonsense standpoint, it just benefits everybody. You’re paying someone a ton of money and their ability to manage pain and stay healthy is imperative.
TD: So that gets into some of my questions regarding business. AJ mentioned with the sports agency there was a passion to be in that space. When it comes to the things you guys are involved in, are you involved because of passion? Opportunity? Or, because they make money?
GV: It’s opportunity and passion way more than money. I love having my hands in multiple projects. In cannabis, I own 49% of Green Street, an aggressive player in the cannabis and CBD space that does everything from events, JV brands to marketing and more. It’s most fun for me to come up with business plans and put them into motion and launch.
TD: What is your advice to somebody who is looking to get into this space? What would you tell them to do right now?
GV: They need to lean into what value they can bring to the table. There’s a lot of different things people can do. For example, I know how to build a brand. For me, my favorite thing in the space right now is edibles for females. An edible-based female consumer product is something I think could really work, it’s a huge market. I know how to make the Sephora or Lululemon of that, that’s my skill set so that’s where I would lean in. Somebody else might be great at building technology or they may be good at representing people. My number one thing on advice is when you see something emerging, you need to be self-aware of what you can bring to the value chain of the industry.
TD: Yeah, I like that, basically self-evaluating.
GV: A hundred percent. There are two core things. First, do you believe in the macro—is this happening? Is it here to stay? Next, who are you? It’s self-awareness at scale.
Check out more of the interview below.