(Bloomberg News) Lance Armstrong may lose as much as $200 million in future earning potential, more than the wealth he accumulated in a championship cycling career now gutted by revelations of doping.
Two days after he was officially stripped of a record seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong faces demands that he repay up to $16 million in purses and bonuses from those victories.
Lost earnings potential far outpaces that, said sports marketing analysts. With a net worth estimated by Forbes at $125 million, the 41-year-old American would have had a prosperous future as an endorser and motivational speaker had the evidence gathered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency not surfaced, according to Patrick Rishe, an economics professor at Webster University in St. Louis. Nike Inc. and his other sponsors deserted him after USADA's report.
"To think that he would be able to make $15-$20 million annually over the next 10 years is not out of the question," Rishe said in a telephone interview yesterday. "That puts his loss in potential future earnings at between $150-$200 million."
The French cycling federation, which distributes Tour de France prize money on behalf of the race organizer, the Amaury Sport Organization, said yesterday it plans to cooperate with the family-owned company to reclaim the $3.8 million (2.95 million euros) it estimates Armstrong won during his career. SCA Promotions Inc., which insured bonuses Armstrong received for winning the race from 2002 through 2004, said two days ago it will seek almost $12 million.
Armstrong earned $17.5 million in endorsement and speaking fees in 2005, when he won his last Tour de France, Sports Illustrated reported. That number grew to $21 million in 2010, Forbes said. The revenue gain as his career declined is an indication that Armstrong, who survived cancer and started the Livestrong foundation that has pumped what it says is more than $470 million into helping others with the disease, would have remained a potent corporate spokesman and health advocate.
"But for these doping allegations, which now have been corroborated by USADA's report, he would have always been a cancer survivor and his story would have always been motivational and inspiring," Rishe said.
That career is in the past.
"I can't imagine anyone being able to make a positive out of a relationship with him at this point," Jim Andrews, senior vice president of content strategy at IEG, a sponsorship consultant, said in a telephone interview.