Lance Armstrong Breaks Own Brand

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After endlessly defending himself, pointing out time and time again that he’d never tested positive for anything, Lance Armstrong has finally given up his fight against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs while he wowed the world with seven straight incredible victories in the Tour de France, one of the world’s most grueling sporting events.

With his decision not to fight the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which promised to parade a slew of old Armstrong allies to testify that they saw him do one dirty deed or another, Armstrong will lose all his titles and suffer brand damage that will be very difficult to repair. (Though plenty have fixed themselves up post-scandal in the past, though. Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer seems to be doing just fine. And nobody seems to care that Kobe Bryant settled the sexual-assault civil case against him out of court way back when.)

But the sting on Armstrong is still fresh and, even though he’ll continue to deny using performance enhancers, he’ll no longer be identified as a seven-time Tour de France winner. And he’s banned from cycling. That’s gotta hurt.

Gary McCall, the managing director of sports-marketing firm Banana Kick, told the Drum that Armstrong’s brand is “finished” after this. “Whether he has taken drugs or not is now immaterial,” McCall said. “His decision to not challenge the ongoing investigations suggests he is a drugs cheat.” [more]

McCall notes that Armstrong has probably lost millions in endorsement deals in the past few years as the Armstrong brand has taken a number of hits through the various investigations of his possible use of performance enhancers. Now Armstrong won’t be able to woo back those who had been sitting on the fence.

While Armstrong

has plenty of cash stored up, no doubt, to continue living a fine life, his decision to not fight the charges will have a negative effect on his Livestrong foundation which helps those affected by cancer.

The foundation “has raised nearly $500 million since its founding in 1997,” according to the Associated Press, so it should also be in decent financial shape, but Armstrong’s decision could hurt it in the short term.

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