Sporting Kansas City’s new stadium finally has a name – and it’s definitely unique.
The Major League Soccer club announced today that it has teamed with Livestrong – champion cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong’s nonprofit foundation – to christen its $200 million complex Livestrong Sporting Park.
According to team CEO Robb Heineman, the agreement – which is for six years – is rare in the sense that Livestrong did not pay for the naming rights. Instead, a portion of all stadium revenues – including ticket sales and concessions – will fund a nonprofit effort to fight cancer.
The goal, Heineman says, is to raise $7.5 million for Livestrong over the course of the agreement.
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“We're proud of Kansas City's history as a philanthropic leader and we believe that this innovative partnership continues that legacy,” Heineman said in a statement. “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.”
Armstrong – who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 – also weighed in on the partnership, which will also help launch the development of local cancer survivorship services for Kansas City residents.
“Professional sports provide a powerful vehicle to affect positive change in the world,” Armstrong said in a press release. “This partnership with Sporting Club gives us an innovative opportunity to advance the cancer fight in this region and we are eager to get started.”
Since its inception as the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997, Livestrong has raised $400 million for the fight against cancer. The organization gained widespread notoriety in 2004, when it partnered with Nike to develop the popular yellow wristbands that have since become a staple in pop culture.
This, it appears, is the organization’s latest attempt to do something groundbreaking. No stadium in any of the four major American professional sports – NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL – are named after a charity, and no MLS stadiums are, either.
Figuring out the naming rights for the stadium, which has been under construction in Kansas City, Kan., for over a year, was one of the last hurdles for OnGoal, Sporting KC’s ownership group, leading up to its expected opening in June. The stadium will seat 18,500 for soccer and 25,000 for concerts.