Sporting KC announced on Tuesday night their decision to discontinue the club's stadium naming rights agreement with the LIVESTRONG Foundation, founded by cycling cast-off Lance Armstrong.
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, the first stadium naming rights of its kind - in which Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City agreed to pay their building's namesake, the LIVESTRONG Foundation, a sum of $7.5 million - is no more. According to breaking news from ESPN's Darren Rovell on Tuesday night, Sporting KC and LIVESTRONG have each decided to end the arrangement. Whose decision the severing of ties was, varies greatly, depending on who you ask.
According to Lovell's story, the relationship had become strained and grown rocky the last calendar year with differing opinions on money owed:
The initiation actually came from the Livestrong foundation, whose officials informed the team this week that the club had only paid $250,000 of the $1 million that it owed the foundation in 2012. Sources say the communication noted that failure to make the foundation whole within two weeks would result in the charity severing the deal.
To which Sporting KC president/CEO Robb Heineman responded:
"We are disappointed to learn Livestrong is deploying tactics designed to force us into an unacceptable arrangement, after months of good faith discussions in which we believed progress had been made," said Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman in a statement provided to ESPN.com. "We were not expecting the foundation to treat a partner in this manner, especially given the tumultuous environment they have thrust us into over the past year -- while we staunchly defended the mission of the foundation. Our faith and trust in this partnership has been permanently damaged; therefore we are terminating our agreement with Livestrong immediately."