Sponsors Continue to Support Lance Armstrong After Steroid, Doping Scandal

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The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) may be celebrating the lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong as a major victory in the war against doping but the news has been met by a collective yawn by the rest of the world. In particular, the “business” of Lance Armstrong is as strong as ever.

All of Armstrong’s major sponsors have pledged to continue to honor their contracts with the retired professional cyclist. Nike, RadioShack, Oakley and Michelob Ultra all continue to support Armstrong. Marketing experts report that major brands recognize power and Armstrong’s influence has been largely unaffected by the recent doping scandal.

The support comes in spite of the fact that Armstrong received a lifetime ban from sports by USADA last month. The ban was based on allegations that he used erythropoietin (EPO), testosterone and other prohibited doping methods over a 14-year period in his celebrated career.

Bill Stapleton, the long-time agent for Armstrong, explained why the steroid and doping allegations have not scared away sponsors.

“We’ve been lucky to have such good partners who support Lance not merely because he can help with their brands, but because they believe in what he is doing,” said Stapleton.

Armstrong, who famously won seven Tour de France titles only after he fought and overcame testicular cancer, founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The charity, most commonly known as LiveStrong, has been one of the most successful cancer charities in history.

LiveStrong has received record number of donations in the days following USADA’s ban and Armstrong’s decision not to fight the ban.

The mutual fund company American Century Investments has also pledged its continued support of Armstrong. The Kansas City-based investment firm manages approximately $6 billion in assets under LiveStrong-branded mutual funds. The firm has donated $8.5 million dollars to LiveStrong since 2006.

Chris Doyle, a spokesman for American Century, explains why the firm continues to believe in Lance Armstrong.

“You can take away titles, but you can’t take away what he’s done for 28 million people with cancer,” said Doyle.

Corporations and private individuals, speaking with their pocketbooks, have shown that they are not particularly concerned about doping in sports. Some things are clearly more important in the bigger scheme of things.

Lance Armstrong - 2010 Tour de France

Lance Armstrong - 2010 Tour de Franc. Photo credit: Millard Baker


Clarke, J. (August 31, 2012). Who Cares About Doping, The Armstrong Brand Is Stronger Than Ever. Retrieved from

Grind, K. (August 31, 2012). American Century Stands By Lance Armstrong. Retrieved from