Australian National Rugby League (NRL) side the Dolphins has announced a new deal with medicinal cannabis company Alternaleaf.

Dolphins become the first Australian professional sports team to partner with a plant medicine company, with Alternaleaf serving as the team's official plant medicine partner.

Alternaleaf branding will appear on the front of Dolphins jerseys as a secondary front-of-shirt sponsor.

Furthermore, Alternaleaf branding will be present at Dolphins home games throughout the season played at both the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, and the Kayo Stadium, Redcliffe.

Terry Reader, Dolphins chief executive, stated of the partnership: “We welcome Alternaleaf to the Dolphins’ sponsorship family and look forward to working with them to assist to continue to grow their brand in the Australian health landscape.”

The two parties will collaborate on information campaigns in order to reduce stigma around plant medicine usage in Australia.

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Rhys Staley, president of Alternaleaf parent company Montu, added: “The Dolphins embody innovation and forward-thinking at every level of the game -values we also champion as a business.

“We are excited to be the official plant medicine partner of the Dolphins, throw our support behind the team – and of course, see them in the finals this year."

Other Dolphins partners for the 2024 season include camping and outdoor equipment store Adventure Kings, which is the side’s principal partner and primary front-of-shirt sponsor.

Insurance firm Budget Direct, betting company BlueBet, mining and minerals giant Anglo American, and sportswear brand Classic are also high-profile sponsors of the team.

The 2024 NRL season began on March 2 with a doubleheader that took place for the first time in Las Vegas, Nevada.   

The two fixtures – the Manly Sea Eagles vs. the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Brisbane Broncos vs. the Sydney Roosters – took place back-to-back at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, home of National Football League's Las Vegas Raiders.

The game was preceded by the NRL’s announcement that it had secured record total revenues of AU$701.1 million ($459.9 million) during the 2023 financial year.

This revenue increase – up year-on-year by AU$107 million and 18% – led to an operating surplus of AU$58.2 million.

The boosted revenue also meant AU$363.7 million was distributed to NRL Premiership clubs and players in 2023.