Archive for Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Livestrong lends its name to new KC soccer stadium

From left, Sporting Kansas City CEO Robb Heineman, Livestrong president and CEO Doug Ulman, cyclist Lance Armstrong and Sporting Kansas City co-owner Cliff Illig were all smiles at a press conference Tuesday announcing the naming of the soccer club's new stadium as Livestrong Sporting Park.

From left, Sporting Kansas City CEO Robb Heineman, Livestrong president and CEO Doug Ulman, cyclist Lance Armstrong and Sporting Kansas City co-owner Cliff Illig were all smiles at a press conference Tuesday announcing the naming of the soccer club's new stadium as Livestrong Sporting Park.

March 8, 2011

— Kansas City’s Major League Soccer franchise is still in the early days of its rebranding effort as Sporting Kansas City, but the club hopes to get a boost from a new partnership with one of the most powerhouse brands in the world.

Sporting Kansas City co-owner Cliff Illig discusses Kansas City's philanthropic history during the press conference announcing the partnership of the Major League Soccer franchise and the Livestrong Foundation. For the duration of the partnership, a portion of stadium revenues will go to the Livestrong Foundation to help in the fight against cancer.

Sporting Kansas City co-owner Cliff Illig discusses Kansas City's philanthropic history during the press conference announcing the partnership of the Major League Soccer franchise and the Livestrong Foundation. For the duration of the partnership, a portion of stadium revenues will go to the Livestrong Foundation to help in the fight against cancer.

Professional cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong cracks a joke with Livestrong Foundation president and CEO Doug Ulman, left, and Sporting Kansas City co-owner Cliff Illig, right, near the end of the press conference announcing the Major League Soccer franchise's teaming with the Livestrong Foundation. The partnership includes naming the club's new stadium Livestrong Sporting Park.

Professional cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong cracks a joke with Livestrong Foundation president and CEO Doug Ulman, left, and Sporting Kansas City co-owner Cliff Illig, right, near the end of the press conference announcing the Major League Soccer franchise's teaming with the Livestrong Foundation. The partnership includes naming the club's new stadium Livestrong Sporting Park.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Sporting Club (Sporting Kansas City’s parent organization) announced it is partnering with cycling icon and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation and will name the club’s new stadium Livestrong Sporting Park.

The Livestrong Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works to support cancer patients and find a cure for cancer.

Livestrong Sporting Park will be the first American professional sports stadium named for a charitable organization.

“We’re proud of Kansas City’s history as a philanthropic leader and we believe that this innovative partnership continues that legacy,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said in a press release. “The fight against cancer is being waged around the world, every hour of every day. So while the fight doesn’t take time out for entertainment, Livestrong Sporting Park provides each of us with the opportunity to stay involved in the cause and celebrate many of those things worth fighting for — the support of community, the thrill of victory and events that bring us all together.”

The partnership is the latest in a rapid series of changes for the franchise. It changed its name in November from the Kansas City Wizards to Sporting Kansas City. The club also is preparing to move into its new, state-of-the-art, $200 million stadium after playing previous seasons in Arrowhead Stadium and then CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

The Sporting Club/Livestrong partnership is for six years and, rather than the club receiving money for the naming rights, Heineman said the goal is to raise $8- $10 million for Livestrong. A portion of stadium revenues will help fund Livestrong’s programs, including a new local program that will offer services for cancer survivors. In addition, the partnership will help Livestrong stretch its cancer education to children and teens through Sporting Club’s youth programs.

“Professional sports provide a powerful vehicle to affect positive change in the world,” Armstrong said in a press release. “Livestrong’s partnership with Sporting Club gives us an innovative opportunity to advance the cancer fight in this region and we are eager to get started.”

Sporting Kansas City will begin playing in Livestrong Sporting Park in a nationally televised game June 9. The stadium will seat 18,500 for sporting events and 25,000 for concerts.

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