Armstrong may return millions to the Postal Service

But even if the disgraced cyclist gives back his sponsorship money, the USPS won't get much of a boost.

By Aimee Picchi Jan 15, 2013 12:46PM

Image: Mailbox ( Corbis)Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is reportedly in talks to return some sponsorship money paid by the U.S. Postal Service. 

The discussions, as reported by CNN, are part of Armstrong's path toward rehabilitating his public image. It's not clear how much Armstrong might return, or even how much the USPS paid Armstrong and his team during its years of support.

During the team's peak years of 2001 to 2004, the postal service likely spent at least $30 million to underwrite the cycling group. The USPS has sought secrecy about its spending on the team -- which wore the stylized postal service eagle on its jerseys -- prompting the agency's Office of Inspector General to criticize the deal in 2003. 

As the U.S. Postal Service struggles with massive losses, a potential $30 million influx from Armstrong will likely do more good for the cyclist's image than for the agency's bottom line. 

The USPS lost a record $15.9 billion in its last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. Just this week, the agency's Board of Governors told the postal service to cut costs and boost sales, with some estimates warning that the USPS could run out of money by October.

With the USPS losing an estimated $42 million per day, that means a complete reimbursement of Armstrong's sponsorship wouldn't even keep the service open for one full day.

In any event, Armstrong's talks with the USPS are clearly geared to burnishing his image rather than helping out the cash-strapped agency. 

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey that will air on Thursday night, Armstrong is said to confess that he used performance-enhancing drugs while winning his titles, the New York Times reports. 

Armstrong is facing a steep climb in reclaiming his good reputation: His Q Score, a measure of a celebrity's appeal, has suffered. About 27% of people now view Armstrong negatively, compared with just 11% after winning his seventh Tour de France in 2005. The average sports star, by comparison, has a negative score of 24%.

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Jan 15, 2013 3:50PM

What about all the people and companies who profited from Armstrong?  Even in disgrace people still profit from him.  Look at how Oprah is shilling this interview.  He raced a bicycle in an European dominated

pro race.  These weren't innocent angels, these are hard core gritty racers.  And he beat them at their own game with their own rules.  Both official and unofficial rules. 

Jan 15, 2013 4:07PM

Why do famous feel the need to confess to Oprah?

What makes people think he has millions to return?

He should have come clean years ago. His credibility has been in the toilet for awhile.

Too much drama for a guy who just rides a bike.


Jan 15, 2013 4:33PM

USPS got their money's worth at the time they were spending it. That's over. He owes them nothing.

Jan 15, 2013 4:51PM
Why bother returning the $? Everyone dopes to keep up with the competition now.  It's foolish to think they don't.  It's just a matter of who gets caught.
Jan 15, 2013 2:16PM
Might as well stuff it down a goffer hole.
Jan 15, 2013 3:49PM

First of all, it was dumb, and needless, and a poor choice, for the USPS to sponsor the team to begin with.  It's not like people decided to use USPS instead of FedEx or UPS just because of the cycling team.  USPS has poor customer service, cranky employees, and a horrible entitlement attitude that permeates the entire organization.  I, and most people I know, use the other companies whenever possible.


Next, while Lance is guilty as hell of doping and then adamantly lying for years about it, there were others involved on the team, including managers and trainiers and other riders, who profitted from the team, and from Lance's success, even if they themselves didn't dope.  At a minimum, they knew it was going on and said nothing at the time.  Of course they came out later, and "confessed".  In many ways they are no better than Armstrong, except that they didn't hide behind a large charitibale foundation while unethically extolling their innocence.  Shouldn't they all give back their money too?


Personnally, I hope Armstrong confesses, and it backfires on him, and all athletic sanctioning organizations everywhere ban him from competing in anything and everything, and public opinion of him falls faster than ever.  I'm not sure if a bigger cheater ever existed.  Then just let poor little Lance slither away to the Hill Country in Texas and live out his miserable existence in silence.  Please.

Jan 15, 2013 4:57PM
Might as well get all of Bonds and Clemens money they made in the drug years as well...
Jan 15, 2013 5:04PM
So...the USPS is losing 42 million per day..... maybe its time for the government to spin that off no??  
Jan 15, 2013 6:47PM
Screw the USPS, they would be the last on my list for reparations. Try taking an unwrapped item to mail at the post office and see how far you get. Then go to UPS or FedEx with the same item and you'll get it packed with a fair price and a thank you. How many times has a postal worker thanked you? That's what I thought, never....
Jan 15, 2013 4:30PM

Leave Lance alone. If athletes can have their eye site enhanced, why can't Lance dope his body. The fans need to bring... them all back down where they belong.  Heroes my Azz.

Jan 15, 2013 4:25PM
He should have read Alexander Hamilton and learned from his big mistake of admitting an affair. The public doesn't really wont to know any thing that changes their good opinion.
Jan 15, 2013 3:40PM
Make him give all the money back. That will get his attention.
Jan 15, 2013 3:54PM

What's even more pathetic, is that they'll be book deals and movie deals for Lance, because our sick society can't wait to read about, and watch on TV, the trainwreck that is Lance Armstrong.


There's probably a reality TV show in the worls right now - Lance would be a great choice for another trashy TV show.


And I can hear his "confession" now - "I only cheated because everyone else was doing it!"



Jan 15, 2013 3:48PM
The postal service did not choose wisely in sponsorship. Cyclists cheat.
Jan 15, 2013 6:45PM

To all of the bad things that he admitted to he is still one of the best cyclist in the World, I as an ex cyclist admire him for his abilities . Did any of the other people making comments ever try racing on a bicycle for 2800 miles in 28 days averaging 40 miles an hour on the flats and 20 MPH. in the mountains??   

Jan 15, 2013 8:07PM

Lance, Lance -Tour De France      You were one of my heros-Now you're one of my ZEROS

Probably doesn't even have cancer either--more spin

Jan 15, 2013 7:27PM
Ps.... Send Tebow to San Diego.  I'm sure he'll be able to hit a receiver in the number and not cry on the sidelines and stomp his feet during games...
Jan 15, 2013 7:26PM
Tell it like it is, brother.....

Jan 15, 2013 4:59PM

Yes JeannieU, you're right, they all dope..what a farce


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