KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Sporting Kansas City hosted the New York Redbulls at LIVESTRONG Stadium in Kansas City, Kansas, Sunday night, in the first MLS game at the stadium since Lance Armstrong announced he would no longer fight the performance enhancement drug doping charges against him.
The seven-time Tour de France winner started the LIVESTRONG Foundation to fund cancer research following his own diagnosis with testicular cancer.
On Friday, Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman announced the stadium would not change its name nor partnership with LIVESTRONG, issuing a statement that supporting the foundation.
" LIVESTRONG's focus is the fight against cancer and the support of 28 million people around the world affected by this disease, and we believe strongly in this mission," stated Heineman through the release.
At the stadium on Sunday, most fans told us they still support the name of the stadium, but a few said it should be changed. Kevin Smith of Kansas City said he's conflicted on the issue.
"My sister-in-law died of breast cancer 8 months ago. The LIVESTRONG foundation touched her life in many ways," noted Smith. "Does this announcement change the organization's mission? No. Yet, Lance's image is tainted and he's the one who started the whole thing. I'm conflicted, and being a season ticket holder it adds to my struggle."
Smith also worries about how the stadium's name will impact children who look up to athletes.
"You think about the kids. What's the message this sends to kids? Do whatever you can at all means necessary to succeed whether it's right or not? That's not a good message to send," Smith added.
Other fans, like Justin White, support the stadium's name and the foundation behind it.
"This is our stadium. It's the home of our team. I don't care what's going on with Lance, it's the foundation and cancer research that my family and I are supporting out here," exclaimed White.
Some Sporting KC fans said they're ok with the name now, but in the future if Armstrong is found guilty of doping they would feel differently.
"Right now, nothing had been proven. There's no evidence that he has been doping. I have no problem with the name, as of right now", noted fan Greg Foster.
The $200 million stadium opened last year, with a promise to donate $7.5 million in stadium revenues to the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Nationally, Nike, Anheuser Busch and other companies that sponsor the foundation have put out similar statements reinforcing their support of the LIVESTRONG organization.