Less than two years into a sponsorship arrangement that was lauded around the world for being innovative, Sporting Kansas City and Livestrong cancer foundation have decided to terminate their partnership.
“Our faith and trust in this partnership have been permanently damaged; therefore we are terminating our agreement with Livestrong, effectively immediately,” Sporting CEO Robb Heineman said in a statement. “As a result of this decision, our stadium will now be referred to as Sporting Park. While we are ending this relationship, our support of the fight against cancer will endure. We look forward to introducing new initiatives to assist these efforts in Kansas City.”
The parties struck a deal in March 2011 to place the Livestrong foundation name on Sporting Kansas City’s newly constructed stadium for six years. Instead of Livestrong paying a fee to secure the stadium naming rights, Sporting KC would donate a portion of its revenues -- which the Associated Press says could have reached $7.5 million over six years -- from the $200 million venue to the charity instead. The parties insist that the controversy that emerged involving Livestrong founder Lance Armstrong, the disgraced cyclist, was not the reason for the parting of ways.