Lance Armstrong is now out of endorsement deals as eyewear supplier Oakley has abandoned him, reversing from its previous support of the cyclist.
The move for Oakley to drop Lance Armstrong came as the cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories by the International Cycling Union (UCI), ESPN reported. The UCI moved to vacate the victories after the US Anti-Doping Agency released a report of a performance-enhancing drug scheme for Armstrong.
“Based on UCI’s decision today and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its longstanding relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately,” the company said in a statement. “When Lance joined our family many years ago, he was a symbol of possibility. We are deeply saddened by the outcome, but look forward with hope to athletes and teams of the future who will rekindle that inspiration by racing clean, fair and honest.”
The endorsement exodus started when the cyclist announced he would stop fighting the charges against him. Lance Armstrong’s remaining endorsements have vanished in the span of a little less than a week. On Wednesday Nike was the first to jump ship, announcing just moments after Armstrong stepped down as chairman of his foundation that it would terminate the cyclist’s contract.
Later that day Lance Armstrong long the endorsement of Trek bicycles, Giro helmets, 24-Hour Fitness, and Anheuser-Busch. Radio Shack was less direct, saying only that it had “current obligations,” with Armstrong, while two companies that Armstrong had a stake in — Honey Stringer and FRS — removed his image from their packaging.
In August a group of sponsors, including both Oakley and Nike, had issued statements supporting Lance Armstrong.
That same day, he lost his deals with Trek bicycles, Giro helmets, 24-Hour Fitness and Anheuser-Busch. Radio Shack was more vague, saying that the company had “no current obligations” with Armstrong. Two companies that Armstrong has a stake in, Honey Stinger and FRS, said they would remove him from their packaging.
As ESPNnoted, the only thing close to the Lance Armstrong endorsement abandonment was what Tiger Woods faced after his infidelity scandal. The golfer lost half his endorsements, being dropped by Gatorade, AT&T and watch maker Tag Heuer. Wood was still supported by close to half of his sponsors.
Several companies, including Oakley, have said they will continue to support the Livestrong initiative, but for Lance Armstrong the endorsement exodus has already cut deep. Forbes had estimated that he will lose more than $50 million in revenue in the next five years.