Orange County Business Journal

Oakley Drops Sponsorship of Lance Armstrong

Kari Hamanaka Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Foothill Ranch-based Oakley Inc. said Monday it has dropped its sponsorship of cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Oakley, which is owned by Italy-based Luxottica Group SPA, makes sunglasses, goggles and apparel. It has more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

The announcement follows the International Cycling Union’s decision earlier today that it would not appeal the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to take away Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles and ban him from the sport. The USADA released a report earlier this month detailing Armstrong’ use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“Based on [the] decision today and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its longstanding relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately,” Oakley said in a statement. “When Lance joined our family many years ago, he was a symbol of possibility. We are deeply saddened by the outcome, but look forward with hope to athletes and teams of the future who will rekindle that inspiration by racing clean, fair and honest.”

Oakley said it will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation, the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit Armstrong founded that supports cancer patients and survivors. Armstrong stepped down as Livestrong chair last week.

Oakley’s decision follows a number of other companies that have severed ties with Armstrong, including Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike Inc. and Trek Bicycle Corp. of Waterloo, Wis. Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. of St. Louis, Mo. said it will not renew its contract with Armstrong at the end of the year.