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Sporting K.C. removes Livestrong name from stadium

The SportsXchange

A bad week for the Livestrong Foundation continued Tuesday when the Sporting Kansas City soccer team announced it was dropping the Livestrong name from its stadium due to a dispute with the cancer-awareness charity.

Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., will become known as Sporting Park, according to the team.

The news broke a day after Lance Armstrong, who founded the charity, apologized to the foundation's employees in Austin, Texas, for the difficulties his scandal caused. Armstrong later confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his run of seven consecutive Tour de France wins.

The deal between Sporting K.C. and Livestrong differed from most stadium naming agreements in that the team was donating money to the charity rather than having a company pay the team for the naming rights. ESPN.com reported that Sporting K.C. gave the foundation just one-quarter of the $1 million it pledged for 2012.

"While we don't talk about the specifics related to any of our partners, part of my role as the chief financial officer is to ensure compliance by our corporate partners," Livestrong's Greg Lee told ESPN.com. "We strive to be great partners ourselves and expect the same from those we do business with. If a partner is struggling to meet the terms of our agreement, we do everything possible to reach a fair and reasonable compromise. If no compromise can be reached, as good stewards or our brand and mission, we have no choice but to bring that agreement to an end."

Sporting K.C. president and CEO Robb Heineman replied in a statement, "This morning we were disappointed to learn Livestrong is utilizing aggressive tactics designed to force us into an unsatisfactory arrangement. 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."
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