English football club Forest Green Rovers, who play in EFL League Two (the fourth tier of English football) have launched a range of merchandise in conjunction with The Grateful Dead.
The unlikely partnership recognises the club's well-established green credentials: in 2018 they became the first UN certified carbon-neutral football club, while the stadium is powered by renewable energy, the team travels to games in an electric bus, vegan food is served to both players and the fans, and the 'Player Of The Match' award is sponsored by meat substitute Quorn.
"For us, it’s a perfect match," says The Grateful Dead's band’s archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux. "Forest Green Rovers is a team that really follows Grateful Dead values, which is to say that we’re both conscious of the world around us and we want to make sure that we leave it a better place than when we arrived. We love to partner with cool people, cool companies and cool organisations who are trying to make a positive difference."
The range of merchandise, which is on sale now, includes two t-shirts, a hoodie, shorts and pants, two caps, a roll-top backpack and a pin-badge.
One of Forest Green Rovers' biggest shareholders is former Arsenal and Barcelona star and vegan activist Héctor Bellerín, who committed to planting 3000 trees every time Arsenal won a game as the delayed 2019-20 season returned to action after lockdown. Bellerín's promise eventually saw 50,000 trees planted in the Amazon rainforest.
This isn't the first time The Grateful Dead have entered the realm of sports marketing. In 1992, they sponsored the Lithuanian basketball team after it struggled to raise finances to attend the Barcelona Olympics. The team, who eventually took the bronze medal home, attend the awards ceremony wearing Dead-branded, tie-dyed basketball kit.