Sports marketer Gary McCall argues that Lance Armstrong's decision not to contest the doping charges against him has "in effect finished" the seven-time Tour De France's winner's brand. The cycling great maintains his innocence but says he will waste no further time challenging the drugs charges.
I have always been a big fan of Lance Armstrong and his book 'It's not about the bike' is still the best autobiography I have ever read.
Over the last few years, the Lance Armstrong brand has been consistently damaged and he will have already lost millions on potential contracts. Now that he has decided not to contest drug charges and has been stripped of seven Tour De France titles, this has in effect finished the Lance Armstrong brand. Whether he has taken drugs or not is now immaterial, his decision to not challenge the ongoing investigations suggests he is a drugs cheat.
Personally his statement about being tired of defending accusations seems strange, after all this is a man who has fought all of his life especially when he was told by doctors that he would not survive cancer.
I think he charity will also suffer badly as a result of his recent decision and although he will always retain some support from his 3.67 million Twitter followers however I am sure that this following will also diminish, and fairly quickly.
He and his advisors will know the marketing implications from this statement. I am sure he is still a very wealthy man. He will now have plenty of time to focus on his charity work in the future as his brand work is now at an end. Hopefully he will go gracefully and not resort to desperate measures such as Ben Johnson endorsing Cheetah energy drink.
Personally I will always admire what Lance has achieved but I will never think of him in the same light again. Hopefully Wiggo will always be a hero to all that follow him.
Gary McCall is managing director of sports marketing agency Banana Kick
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