SBD/August 9, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Livestrong Seeing Impact From Cloudy Reputation Surrounding Founder Lance Armstrong

Livestrong execs say they've seen an impact from Armstrong's doping accusations
Livestrong needs the “popularity of its mission to transcend the reputation of its founder” Lance Armstrong in order to “thrive regardless of how the doping allegations are resolved,” according to a sports section cover story by Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. Two years after federal prosecutors opened an investigation into doping allegations against Armstrong, the charity “forges on, striving to keep the focus on its massive mission: supporting cancer survivors.” But now Livestrong “must deal with questions about how it can unglue itself” from Armstrong. Q Scores found that after “years of rumors and accusations, nearly three times more Americans dislike Armstrong than like him.” Livestrong “took a hit in June when USADA outlined its charges in a letter to Armstrong.” The charges “put his deal with the World Triathlon Corporation in jeopardy -- a one-year agreement that was to pay $1 million to the foundation in exchange for Armstrong's appearances.” So far, the WTC “has paid Livestrong $250,000.” Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman said, "The good news is the organization is as strong as ever. It continues to serve our mission.” But he added, “That said, we do see an impact. One is the constant barrage of media attention, even though it has nothing to do with the mission (of the foundation)." Schrotenboer writes it is a “fine line for the foundation to walk.” Livestrong “wants to support its founder, though it only can do so to a point, lest it breach ethical boundaries” (USA TODAY, 8/9).
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