The hows and whys are still being debated, but it is now clear that Sporting Kansas City and the Livestrong foundation are ending their stadium naming-right agreement. The two groups entered a unique relationship a little less than two years ago that allowed the recently rebranded team to link themselves to the cancer-research group in exchange for agreeing to raise $7.5 million over the course of six years. With the foundation claiming that the team has failed to live up to its financial promises and the team disputing that accusation, the agreement has been terminated.
"This morning we were disappointed to learn LIVESTRONG is utilizing aggressive tactics designed to force us into an unsatisfactory arrangement," Sporting KC CEO Rob Heineman wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "We willingly admit we were not expecting the foundation to treat a partner in this manner. Even more surprising is that LIVESTRONG would take this action in the midst of a significant transitional phase for their organization.
"Our faith and trust in this partnership have been permanently damaged; therefore we are terminating our agreement with LIVESTRONG, effectively immediately. 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."
Sporting KC is just the latest organization to distance itself from anything related to cyclist Lance Armstrong. Even Livestrong, the organization named after him, has officially severed ties, as well as Nike and 24-Hour Fitness.