Nike ends production of Livestrong products, is reducing support for foundation
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nike ends production of Livestrong products, is reducing support for foundation

by Shane Stokes at 3:44 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Armstrong fallout continues, company says it will still provide some funding to Livestrong

LivestrongAlthough it said last October that it intended sticking with its backing of Livestrong for the foreseeable future while at the same time severing its ties with Lance Armstrong, Nike is now reducing its backing of the cancer foundation and will end its production of Livestrong-branded products.

Livestrong announced the development today in a statement, which said it was ‘deeply grateful’ to Nike for both the time and resources it gave to improve the lives of those affected by cancer and also the creative drive it showed during the nine year partnership.

The company was central to the creation and production of the yellow wristbands which generated millions for Livestrong and also gave it an instantly-recognisable global image.

“Since 2004, Nike helped raise more than $100 million to advance the Foundation’s mission. Together, we created new, revolutionary ways of thinking about how non-profits fuel their mission and we’re proud of that,” said Livestrong.

One week after USADA released evidence of widespread doping on the US Postal Service team in its reasoned decision. Nike announced last October 17th that it’s long-running relationship with Armstrong was at an end.

“Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him,” it said in a statement then.

“Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”

Now, a little over seven months later, that support has been further reduced. However Nike said in a statement that it would continue to fund the foundation, albeit to an unspecified level.

“Nike has made the decision to stop producing new Livestrong product after its Holiday 2013 line. 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.

“We are proud of the collective efforts between Nike and the Livestrong Foundation to raise more than $100 million to help people with cancer, distributing 87 million Livestrong wristbands and serving and improving health outcomes for more than 2.5 million people with free cancer support services, programs, tools and resources.”

The news is undoubtedly a blow, not least because the Nike relationship generated millions of dollars for Livestrong each year. However the foundation seeks to reassure people that it will survive.

“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,” it said.

“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. Because of our excellent governance and quality of service, the Foundation remains one of the most highly-rated and effective non-profits in the United States. Because 14 million Americans face the daily challenges of living with cancer, our mission has never been more critical and for some, it will mean the difference between life and death.”

It said that it was open to partnering with other organisations that were ‘genuinely committed’ to Livestrong’s mission.

Armstrong denied doping for many years, but finally made an about-turn on that position in January when he confessed on Oprah Winfrey’s programme to long-term use of banned substances.

Livestrong severed ties with him last Autumn but has undoubtedly been affected by the US Postal Service affair.


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