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Livestrong Sporting Park Set To Open Amid Lance Armstrong Allegations
Published June 1, 2011
If Lance Armstrong’s cycling legacy goes “down in flames,” Sporting KC's new Livestrong Sporting Park “will provide a perfect case study on how the most recent allegations might affect the brand he's built as one of the most inspirational figures in the world,” according to J. Brady McCollough of the K.C. STAR. Sporting KC will open the new soccer-specific stadium next Thursday, and the MLS club has agreed to donate $7.5M over six years to the Livestrong Foundation as part of the stadium's naming-rights agreement. Sporting KC, which in the past year has undergone a "total brand redefinition that started with a new name, is hoping to capitalize on the buzz created by the connection to Livestrong.” Construction of the new stadium is "nearly complete, and on Thursday workers added the yellow Livestrong signage to the front of the facility.” While Armstrong “is expected to attend the grand opening,” Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman is “careful to point out that the partnership is more with Livestrong than the famed cyclist.” Heineman said that he “expected the allegations to continue during Sporting’s six-year agreement with Livestrong.” Heineman: “We knew this would continue, that there were previous allegations and there may be others in the future. That doesn’t sway us from the decision we made and our belief in the partnership that we have today.” Nonetheless, McCollough noted “the fact that Armstrong has been the subject of negative headlines fewer than three months after the partnership was announced in March can be seen as a troubling start for Sporting KC” (K.C. STAR, 5/30).