Armstrong’s foundation still thriving

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
3:39
PM ET
Lance Armstrong's credibility has been attacked once again, with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency revealing its evidence against the cyclist Wednesday. But the foundation that bears his name is still pulling in significant dollars.

Year-to-date revenues for the foundation, the largest athlete-named charity in the world, are up 2.1 percent to $33.8 million through Sept. 30. Numbers provided to ESPN from the foundation show that the number of donations is up by 5.4 percent versus 2011 and the average dollar amount of those donations is up 5.7 percent (from $74.88 in 2011 to $79.15 in 2012).

Although some have speculated that a more concrete connection to performance-enhancing drugs would hinder Armstrong's cancer awareness efforts and destroy the Livestrong brand name, early returns show that the foundation is getting stronger.

"It's pretty much across the board higher than normal," said Doug Ulman, the foundation's CEO.

That includes the number of cancer patients and their families who are calling the foundation for the support services they offer.

"More people understand what we do now," Ulman said.

Ulman added that the foundation will have its 15th anniversary celebration next week.

"Our goal was to raise $2 million," Ulman said. "We've sold 1,600 of 1,700 total tickets and we're going to raise a minimum of $2.5 million."

On Aug. 23, Armstrong said he would not fight charges brought by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which led to the organization stripping him of his seven Tour de France titles.

If anyone thought that Armstrong's refusal to fight was an admission of his guilt -- Armstrong has denied using performance-enhancing drugs -- it certainly didn't hurt fundraising efforts.

The foundation says the average donation since that day is well above normal at $93. As for the purchase of Livestrong-branded merchandise? That's up, too. More than 5,000 orders have come into the foundation website with an average order of $61, about one-and-a-half times the average purchase in the online store. On the year, merchandise is up 2.2 percent and the average purchase is $10.45 more than last year's average purchase.

For its part, Nike hasn't scaled back its Livestrong line of products. There are nearly 100 Livestrong-branded items available for purchase on Nike.com.

In the past 15 years, the Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised $480 million.

The evidence against Armstrong presented publicly Wednesday included testimony from 11 of his former teammates. USADA CEO Travis Tygart called the drug use by Armstrong's U.S. Postal team "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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