SBD/October 11, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike Reaffirms Support For Lance Armstrong Despite USADA Doping Report

Armstrong on a recent visit to Nike HQ worked with designers on Livestrong products
Nike yesterday once again “reaffirmed its support of Lance Armstrong,” whose career was “tarnished by statements of 11 former teammates saying he used performance enhancing drugs,” according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Nike's statement was “made hours after" USADA had issued its Armstrong findings and was the same statement the company “made in late August, when Armstrong said he would not challenge the agency's allegations in arbitration.” Armstrong was “on the Nike World Headquarters campus Oct. 1-2, working with Nike designers on Livestrong products and talking to Nike employees about the fight against cancer.” Nike in partnership with the Livestrong Foundation on Oct. 20 will be “sponsor of the University of Texas' cancer awareness game against Baylor University.” The game is “part of several events held Oct. 18-21 to recognize the 15th year of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.” Nike and Livestrong will “make an on-field presentation prior to the second quarter, which will be designated as the Livestrong quarter.” The 17,000-seat student section will be “wearing Livestrong T-shirts that Nike created for the game” (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/11). A-B VP/Marketing Paul Chibe said the brewer's relationship with Armstrong is "unchanged." Oakley was unavailable for comment (MARKETINGWEEK.co.uk, 10/11).

SOLID FOUNDATION: ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell wrote while Armstrong's “credibility has been attacked once again,” the foundation that “bears his name is still pulling in significant dollars.” Year-to-date revenues for the foundation, the “largest athlete-named charity in the world, are up 2.1 percent to $33.8 million through Sept. 30.” Foundation data shows that the number of donations is “up by 5.4 percent versus 2011 and the average dollar amount of those donations is up 5.7 percent (from $74.88 in 2011 to $79.15 in 2012).” Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman said, "It's pretty much across the board higher than normal.” Ulman: "Our goal was to raise $2 million. We've sold 1,600 of 1,700 total tickets and we're going to raise a minimum of $2.5 million." Since Aug. 23, the day Armstrong “said he would not fight charges” brought by USADA, the foundation said that the average donation is “well above normal at $93.” Rovell noted purchases of Livestrong-branded merchandise are “up, too.” More than “5,000 orders have come into the foundation website with an average order of $61, about one-and-a-half times the average purchase in the online store.” On the year, merchandise is “up 2.2 percent and the average purchase is $10.45 more than last year's average purchase.” Nike has not “scaled back its Livestrong line of products.” There are “nearly 100 Livestrong-branded items available for purchase on Nike.com” (ESPN.com, 10/10).
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