Nike Inc. has severed its licensing arrangement with the Livestrong cancer charity founded by cyclist Lance Armstrong.
The move is the result of Armstrong’s admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France seven times. He has subsequently been stripped of his titles.
Nike has held a licensing agreement for Livestrong apparel and footwear since 2008. The collection included running and training apparel, as well as footwear and accessories for men, women and children. In addition, Nike created the yellow wristband in 2004 with the foundation’s Livestrong logo, which became an international symbol for cancer survivors. Nike raised more than $100 million for Livestrong through sales of the Livestrong merchandise and the $1 wristbands. It distributed over 87 million wristbands. Nike will stop producing new Livestrong products after its holiday 2013 line.
The Livestrong Foundation will continue to produce the Livestrong wristband, which it has made since 2004, and some apparel.
Nike dropped its personal sponsorship of Armstrong last October after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency revealed years of doping by Armstrong and his former U.S. Postal Service teammates.
“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,” Nike said in a statement.
The Livestrong Foundation also issued a statement Tuesday on the dissolution of its relationship with Nike. “The Livestrong Foundation is deeply grateful to Nike not only for the time and resources it invested in helping us improve the lives of people affected by cancer today, but also the creative drive it brought to our nine-year partnership. While the Foundation created and owns the Livestrong brand, Nike shone a spotlight on the spirit of courage and resilience it represents,” it said.
“This news will prompt some to jump to negative conclusions about the Foundation’s future. We see things quite differently. We expected and planned for changes like this and are therefore in a good position to adjust swiftly and move forward with our patient-focused work. Because of our sound fiscal health, the Foundation is well-positioned to continue to grow our free services for cancer patients and survivors that improve quality of life and access to care,” the statement said.
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