Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sporting Kansas City Ends Relationship With Livestrong

In the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, and Armstrong’s admittance that he used steroids during his run of a record seven consecutive Tour de France championships, Livestrong and Sporting KC have terminated their deal for the naming rights of the club’s stadium.

Sporting KC announced yesterday that they would sever all ties with Livestrong, the cancer awareness organization Armstrong founded. For the time being, the stadium will be known as “Sporting Park.”

Livestrong has claimed that Sporting KC had only paid $250,000 of its $1 million pledge for 2012. The original agreement called for Sporting to contribute $7.5 million over six years to Livestrong by donating portions of ticket, concession and souvenir sales. Sporting KC President and CEO Robb Heineman has strongly disputed this claim, and has stated that the $250,000 was all that the club contractually owed Livestrong. Heineman also criticized the Livestrong organization for using the media as a platform to criticize Sporting KC.

Armstrong recently admitted to doping throughout his record-breaking and inspirational career in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. This interview is scheduled to be aired tomorrow.

The writing was on the wall for Sporting KC when the United States Anti-Doping Agency accused Armstrong of doping and trafficking drugs, and later when Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned from competitive cycling for life. 24-Hour Fitness, Anheuser-Busch and Nike have all ended their sponsorship with Armstrong as well, and while Sporting KC initially stood by Livestrong, Armstrong’s confession and the accusations made by the Livestrong Foundation made the decision to end the relationship easy for Heineman.

It is unknown at this time if any potential sponsors have contacted Sporting KC about the naming rights to Sporting Park. The stadium recently was named as the host for the 2013 MLS All-Star game, and has also hosted several United States Men’s and Women’s soccer games.

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