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Nike Drops Livestrong Ties (Update)

Update: Nike has produced merchandise with the Livestrong logo for nine years – raising more than $100 million for the foundation. But Nike will stop making the merchandise after this holiday season.

According to Livestrong Vice President of Communications & External Affairs Katherine McLane, Nike will stop production before the end of 2013 – that's before the contract ends in December 2014.

Nike created the famous yellow wristband and gifted it to Livestrong. The non-profit will continue producing it.

“The foundation sees 2013 as a rebuilding year," McLane said. "Given the pretty significant changes it has weathered in recent months, this is a time for the foundation to rebuild itself, to steer a strong and independent course that ensures the long-term health and sustainability of the organization."

McLane says both Nike and Livestrong will fulfill the terms of the contract and there will be no immediate financial effect to the foundation.

"Obviously, knowing that the foundation's contract with Nike ends in 2014, the foundation had not counted revenue as a result of that partnership beyond 2014," McLane said.

The foundation is exceeding budget projections for this time of year.

Original Story (11:22 a.m.): Nike is cutting ties with Livestrongafter nine years.

The Austin-based non-profit was founded by cyclist Lance Armstrong. And it’s been feeling the fallout from Armstrong’s admission of taking performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong’s beenstripped of his seven Tour de France titles and Nike dropped its personal sponsorship of him last fall.

Nike had a licensing agreement with Livestrong and even created the famous yellow wristband.

Livestrong officials say the charity “expected and planned for changes like this” and remains fiscally strong and committed to helping cancer patients.

On an interesting side note, though Nike didn't drop Livestrong the day it dropped Armstrong, it did stop tweeting and posting to Nike Livestrong social media accounts.

Earlier this year, the Austin Marathon also ended its agreement with Livestrong.

Here's the full statement from Livestrong:

"The LIVESTRONG Foundation is deeply grateful to Nike not only for the time and resources it invested in helping us improve the lives of people affected by cancer today, but also the creative drive it brought to our nine-year partnership. While the Foundation created and owns the LIVESTRONG brand, Nike shone a spotlight on the spirit of courage and resilience it represents. Since 2004, Nike helped raise more than $100 million to advance the Foundation's mission. Together, we created new, revolutionary ways of thinking about how non-profits fuel their mission and we're proud of that.
"This news will prompt some to jump to negative conclusions about the Foundation's future. We see things quite differently. We expected and planned for changes like this and are therefore in a good position to adjust swiftly and move forward with our patient-focused work. Because of our sound fiscal health, the Foundation is well-positioned to continue to grow our free services for cancer patients and survivors that improve quality of life and access to care. Because of our excellent governance and quality of service, the Foundation remains one of the most highly-rated and effective non-profits in the United States. Because 14 million Americans face the daily challenges of living with cancer, our mission has never been more critical and for some, it will mean the difference between life and death.
"Taking a revolutionary approach to improving outcomes for cancer patients and survivors has been part of the LIVESTRONG Foundation's DNA since our creation in 1997. Change, while sometimes hard, also brings opportunity. We are always eager to partner with organizations that are genuinely committed to our mission. Constant innovation and relentless determination on behalf of people facing cancer today are what drive us and we take that spirit to heart during this time of change for our organization."

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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