According to The Kansas City Star, Lance Armstrong, the soon-to-be-completely-unmasked former cyclist and cancer survivor, had an interesting reaction when Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City approached him about naming their new stadium after his nonprofit organization, Livestrong.
“You mean that sport where they fall down, roll around, and act like they’re [injured]?” said the most famous practitioner of that sport where they fill themselves to the eyeballs with pharmaceuticals, shave their legs, and ride (possibly motorized) bicycles.
But when he homed in on the details of the deal, Armstrong’s skepticism vanished. Sporting Kansas City was not only offering the naming rights to its $200-million soccer complex for free, the club also proposed donating a portion of its stadium revenues—a minimum of $7.5 million for the six-year arrangement—to Livestrong, which has raised more than $400 million for cancer research since 1997.
Armstrong and Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman both recognized a sensible deal when they saw one, and agreed to the partnership, which was announced in Kansas City on Tuesday.
Livestrong Sporting Park, as the stadium was christened on Tuesday, will open on June 9, when Sporting KC hosts the Chicago Fire.
The arrangement is unique in North American sports, as no other venues in MLS—or in the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB—are named after a charity.
Our Armstrong crankiness aside, this is a terrific move by Sporting Kansas City and an excellent partnership. It gives both sides a boost in profile and, as James Starritt wrote on the SKC website SportingTimes.net:
“A portion of everything we spend at the stadium will trickle down to Livestrong, which in turn will help direct and fund cancer research, awareness and educational programs.
My football team and I are going to save lives.”
Cheers to all involved—even the guy who somehow managed to completely dominate the most PED-soaked sport in the world while remaining “totally clean” himself.