SBD/June 15, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sponsors Stand By Lance Armstrong Despite New Anti-Doping Agency Charges

Nike and Oakley released statements in support of Armstrong
None of cyclist Lance Armstrong's "top sponsors -- including Nike, Oakley, 24-Hour Fitness and Trek -- have bailed, nor are they flashing early warning signs that they might," amid doping allegations from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency,  according to Bruce Horovitz of USA TODAY. Nike said in a statement, "Our relationship with Lance remains as strong as ever." Oakley said in a statement, "As always we believe in Lance." Sports Business Group President David Carter said that marketers "recognize that many consumers decided a long time ago that they 'believe in Lance.'" Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard said, "Lance has proven that his marketability is Teflon-coated. Most of his fans will look at this news with a degree of indifference, and sponsor shouldn't be too worried" (USA TODAY, 6/15). In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted Wisconsin-based Trek Bicycle Corp. "is supporting" Armstrong. Trek spokesperson Bill Mashek "confirmed that Armstrong has a sponsorship agreement with the company." Mashek said, "He has been a great partner for Trek." He added that the company "had no comment on the new allegations" (JSONLINE.com, 6/14).

SEE YOU IN COURT: Armstrong earlier this spring said that "he would not fight any more doping charges that cropped up against him because he was tired of it." But in N.Y., Juliet Macur writes it now "appears that he has changed his mind." One of Armstrong's lawyers, Robert Luskin, "sent a letter to the antidoping agency late Wednesday, aggressively questioning its evidence that Armstrong violated antidoping rules" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/15).
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