SBD/May 29, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike Discontinuing Livestrong-Branded Products After '13; Logo To Remain Until End Of '14

Nike has told the Livestrong Foundation that it will "discontinue its line of Livestrong-branded products by the end of this year," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Nike North America Media Relations Manager KeJuan Wilkins in a statement said, "We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation by funding them directly as they continue their work serving and improving outcomes for people facing cancer." Sources said that Nike just last year "sold $150 million of Livestrong-branded products, its most ever." But sources added that Nike, as well as Dick's Sporting Goods, which "sold the most product at retail, were ready to give up the business." Rovell noted the foundation together with Nike "made more than 87 million of its Livestrong yellow rubber wristbands since May 2004." Nike raised more than $100M for the foundation "through sales of the $1 wristbands and a minimum guarantee and royalty payments made on the sale of Livestrong gear" (ESPN.com, 5/28). USA TODAY's Brent Schrotenboer reports the Nike logo on the packaging of Livestrong's yellow bracelets will "remain until the entire contract expires in December 2014." Nike's decision to "stop other merchandise production -- shirts, shorts, jackets -- marks the latest blow to Livestrong, the charity founded by Lance Armstrong." Livestrong VP/Communications & External Affairs Katherine McLane said that Nike would "continue to support Livestrong through the end of its contract" (USA TODAY, 5/29). In N.Y., Juliet Macur notes Livestrong has been "bracing for the fallout, including a budget reduction of nearly 11 percent from last year in case it brought in less revenue." The organization also has "tried to re-brand itself by dropping the name Lance Armstrong Foundation and adopting the name Livestrong Foundation." Livestrong earlier this month also "launched an advertisement campaign promoting its new buzzword, StillStrong, and reminding people that the charity is still providing free services to cancer patients" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/29).
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