Nike and two other top brands are sticking with Lance Armstrong despite the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to ban him from competition for life and to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles, reports Michael McCarthy in Advertising Age.
Joining Nike in support of Armstrong are Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob Ultra and Oakley sunglasses.
As previously reported, Armstrong last week ended his fight against charges of illegal doping, calling the USADA’s process "one-sided and unfair."
Despite the sponsors sticking by Armstrong, the USADA’s move "has further damaged his already weakening brand," McCarthy writes.
"Things have to be pretty far gone before Nike bails on an endorser. After the 40-year-old cancer survivor announced he was dropping his appeal to the agency’s doping charges, the Swoosh stood by him the way it stood by Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant," the story points out.
One reason the brands aren’t backing away from Armstrong is his cancer work through his LiveStrong campaign, which has raised almost $500 million, the story notes.
"He has inspired millions with his athletic achievement and his commitment to helping cancer survivors and their families," said Paul Chibe, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of U.S. marketing.