Article by Darren Rovell, ESPN
A new category of sponsorship was sold by a U.S. sports team for the first time on Friday: team marijuana dispensary.
The Las Vegas Lights, an expansion team in the United Soccer League, signed a deal with the local Paiute tribe to allow them to promote the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace at the team’s stadium, Cashman Field, which it shares with the New York Mets Triple-A franchise, the Las Vegas 51s.
At 15,800 square feet, the marketplace is the largest marijuana dispensary in the world and sells both medicinal and recreational marijuana to more than 1,000 people a day, said Chris Spotted Eagle, the vice chairman of the tribe. The dispensary also has a 24-hour drive-thru.
“We love Las Vegas, and we’re not embarrassed to support any business here,” said Brett Lashbrook, whose USL team wears jerseys sponsored by Zappos.com — which has played a major role in Las Vegas revitalization — and shorts branded with the logo of the local Plaza Hotel & Casino.
“This is the right time and the right market to do this, and we’re not going to hide. We think this will be part of the destigmatization of this substance and business. This isn’t some shady guys walking around with hoods over their heads. This shop is closer to an Apple Store.”