How Lance Armstrong Profited From Livestrong

It built his brand, and in a few cases its deals raised eyebrows

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2013 9:42 AM CST

(Newser) – When Lance Armstrong survived his bout with testicular cancer, agent Bill Stapleton saw an opportunity. "Lance isn't just a cyclist anymore," he said at the time. "Because of the cancer … he's on the verge of being a crossover-type spokesman." Stapleton, who works with Capital Sports & Entertainment, helped form the Livestrong charity to bolster that brand, and ever since Armstrong's business interests have been tied closely to the foundation's, the New York Times reports.

Since 2010, Livestrong has paid $423,000 in fees to Capital Sports, which is notable because Armstrong isn't just a Capital client, he's also a minority shareholder. There have also been numerous instances of Livestrong striking deals that appeared to benefit Armstrong or his associates, like the time the charity sold the right to use its name to Bristol-Myers Squibb, which also hired Armstrong as a spokesman. In another more controversial instance, Demand Media hired Armstrong as a spokesman, then struck a deal to develop a for-profit Livestrong site. "There was a conflict. I felt there was," says one former Livestrong executive. For the Times' full piece, click here.

Bike riders begin their 100 mile ride at the Livestrong Challenge Austin bike ride, Oct. 21, 2012, in Austin, Texas.
Bike riders begin their 100 mile ride at the Livestrong Challenge Austin bike ride, Oct. 21, 2012, in Austin, Texas.   (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)
A bike rider starts off on his 100 miles ride at the Livestrong Challenge Austin bike ride Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Austin, Texas.  Lance Armstrong greeted about 4,300 cyclist
A bike rider starts off on his 100 miles ride at the Livestrong Challenge Austin bike ride Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Austin, Texas. Lance Armstrong greeted about 4,300 cyclist   (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)
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Imagine if the American Red Cross decided to create 'AmericanRedCross.com' and sold the Web site. On the Web site they sold vitamins and health products. - Fraud expert Mark Zimbelman, on the Demand Media deal

It was pretty clear from what I understand that the Livestrong brand was there for the foundation, and livestrong.com, a for-profit that benefited Lance’s agent, in my opinion was wrong. - Doug Kingsriter, former Livestrong development officer

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