Lance Armstrong could lose millions

After confessing to doping, the disgraced cyclist may find his net worth is at risk.

By Aimee Picchi Jan 18, 2013 10:08AM

Image: Oprah Winfrey interviewing cyclist Lance Armstrong during taping for the show After admitting to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong might find the toughest part to come: legal challenges and negotiations with prior supporters that could drain millions from his bank account.

Friday night, Armstrong will address some of the issues around his sponsorships and his decision to step down from the Livestrong Foundation, according to a preview that aired on Thursday night for the second part of Winfrey's interview.

When Nike (NKE) called to tell him they were dropping him, Armstrong said in the preview, it was a "$75 million day -- gone."

With a tangled web of endorsements and business interests -- as seen in this amazingly convoluted flowchart -- it's tough to estimate exactly how much Armstrong earns each year, although his net worth has been estimated between $100 million to $125 million. 

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency slapped a lifetime ban on Armstrong in October, adding fuel to some lawsuits against the cyclist. Now that Armstrong has admitted to Winfrey that he engaged in doping, those lawsuits could receive a bigger impetus and possibly reduce his net worth significantly, according to

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly considering whether to join in a whistleblower lawsuit from cyclist Floyd Landis, reports the New York Daily News, which reviewed the sealed lawsuit. Filed under the False Claims Act, the lawsuit alleges that Armstrong and his associates defrauded millions from taxpayers, given that he was in allegedly in violation of the sponsorship agreement between himself and the U.S. Postal Service. 

Armstrong is said to be in talks with the U.S. Postal Service to return some sponsorship money, although it's not known how much is at stake. During the team's peak years of 2001 to 2004, the postal service likely spent at least $30 million to underwrite Armstrong's team.

Many sponsorship contracts are created to last only short periods, and some of Armstrong's deals might have already expired, Marc Edelman, a law professor at Barry University's Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, tells MSN Money. 

It's unlikely that a sponsor would seek compensation through the courts, he says. "A much more drastic remedy might involve a brand going after Lance Armstrong for past payments, or for indirect damage done to brand," Edelman says. "Those are much more difficult to win."

Aside from legal problems, Armstrong is facing a loss of future income from severed sponsorships and reduced speaking fees. It's possible for Armstrong to revive his image -- but it's going to take a while, notes Karl Heiselman, chief executive of brand consultancy Wolff Olins

Coming clean is the first step, he tells MSN Money. 

"There are always opportunities to redeem yourself, but it comes back to honest, sincere action," Heiselman says. "He used to stand for is perseverance, so this is obviously a major blow to that."

Armstrong should "take on a new cause, such as anti-doping, and it'll take a long road to rebuilding" his reputation, he adds. 

In the meantime, there is one clear winner in Armstrong's confession: Winfrey. 

Her struggling cable network received a sizable premium for advertising spots during her two-part interview with Armstrong, reports Advertising Age

OWN is fetching about $100,00 for a two-unit package, giving advertisers access to spots in both nights of the interview, marking a 40% to 50% bump from any other night on the cable network, according to the story. 

And even better for Winfrey, inventory has sold out.

More on Money Now

Jan 18, 2013 5:53PM

YOUR OBAMA..was purportely a pot-head. Yet he is not only President..he is not held accountable! Leave this guy alone until you hold Obama to the same standards. There is no proof Obama ever went to ANY College..nor  does he have a record of one single trial case as a ?Lawyer. No one knows who this man is..yet America didn't question his position as a president. It's hypocritical to bother an athlete,

when you don't hold your own president accountable.


Jan 18, 2013 5:53PM
With Obama gutting our constitution, raising taxes on all of us, not securing our borders, giving our tax dollars away to low lifes who don't pay their own way, etc. etc. are we really worried about a scum bag like Armstrong?  I'm not.  Make him pay back everything he basically stole and throw his backside in prison for fraud.

Once he's out of the picture then we need to get busy with the truly important business like cleaning up Washington DC.  Many members of the current administration are no better than Armstrong.
Jan 18, 2013 5:52PM
Lance made people interested in cycling.  Poster Person.  No on seem interested in the sport anymore. He was great for the media.  It was a mistake to demoralize  him. I don't know anyone who has been perfect  in their lives and haven't done something in their lives that could be bad for them if the media were to find out.  We have all done something.  And I believe that it was a big mistake to of made this an issue.  It's bad for the sport.
Jan 18, 2013 5:51PM
Who cares. I'm to busy trying to figure out how to pay the additional tax burden that was just dumped on me. In addition my health insurance went up 27% this year, 18% last year, gas is still way to high, beef is for the people who can afford it, and any vacation time I have built up I'm trying to cash in to keep my bills current. Why people pay attention to athletes and stars is beyond me. Dealing with what Washington legislates affects me and everyone directly. Lance could lose millions and it won't affect him much. Me, I could care less. WTF is Washington going to do to cut my cost of living.  My pay will never go up fast enough to offset what Obama is doing to me. You people need to pay attention to what is important. 
Jan 18, 2013 5:50PM
Leave the man alone.  What about all the good he's done? How many people has he helped through the Livestrong Foundation?  Sponsors have made millions off this man. Everyone is acting like he's a murderer.
Jan 18, 2013 5:49PM
ATT&T..MSN..are among the biggest supporters of Obama's Inauration. Lame-stream media. Just-so-you-know.
Jan 18, 2013 5:42PM
Seriously?? You Love Obama.. an amitted pot-head and a lying manipulative cheat. THAT you have no problem with and put it in the highest office in the world. Shut up hypocrites and leave him alone if you do not hold your president accountable..and NO .. "Bush did not make him do it"y
Jan 18, 2013 5:39PM

WOW what a joke.  Lance who deceived millions goes on this woman's network to help her make millions?! 

Why folks,  why did you tune in?

Lance lied so much for so long he deceived himself,  he still doesn't know the truth.


As for his future?  Get a REAL job Lance.  And get into recovery,  you need to learn and admit your powerlessness and start making amends,  that should take you like,  forever.   

No more TV publicy.   Just go away and stay out of the public eye. 

Jan 18, 2013 5:34PM
More finger pointing. Ah the American way.
I don't know why thisA/H think that going on Oprah or any other talk-show would boost their credibility. All of the interviews could have been done in half an hour - instead of two nights.  To the bitter end, Lance Armstrong was after the big bucks and Oprah was ready to milk this for her stupid cab le channel...SHAME ON LANCE ARMSTRONG AND DOUBLE SHAME ON OPRAH.....Tinothy Lee
how much did the fat **** bur head pay for this$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Jan 18, 2013 5:30PM

Why is it that the media focuses so much on the money part of this issue, You can tell by the title of this article MSN posted.

 While growing up in the 70's, we were taut the the news media's job was to report the facts that they had collected, with no "opinion" attached.

But they have figured out that if they develop a counter theory of the facts, and dramatize the ****, the more people will watch, the more advertising time the can sell, and in the end, all that matters is more money in their pockets.

 That's all the news media is about these days. SHOW US THE MONEY

Jan 18, 2013 5:24PM

The truth will out; Armstrong was short sighted to think he could keep all the participants who knew and transported controlled substances over international borders from cracking under the  pressure of sports governing bodies and investigative journalists.

I suppose he must have thought that the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs would become  acceptable in the future instead of remaining the scourge of the level playing field.

Lance will need to swallow a big dose of humility as a first step to repair his image-so far he seems to be his brash insolent self.

Jan 18, 2013 5:22PM
what do you think is is the box or those bottles on table next to him
Jan 18, 2013 5:19PM
Crimes and Punishments

Under the RICO Act, a person can be charged with racketeering — which includes , , illegal drug sales, loan sharking, murder and prostitution — if he or she has committed two of the 27 federal and eight state crimes under U.S. within a 10-year period. The law gives the government the power to criminally prosecute and imprison an organized crime leader even if he or she has never personally committed any of the components of racketeering. This is because he or she is part of a criminal enterprise.

Jan 18, 2013 5:18PM
Armstrong needs to team up with Manti Te’o.. Two big lying assh*les...
Jan 18, 2013 5:16PM
Who here DOESN'T believe that Lance got all of his finances locked up tight before his grand confession?
Jan 18, 2013 5:15PM
How many others? Gonna be hard to have any Hall of Fame inductee's in any sport if they look into it ALL. Sorry day's for Sportsmanship, in the end money won out....disgrace
Jan 18, 2013 5:15PM
Not to condone his cover-up, but lest we forget all the untold millions the companies made of of him endorsing their products. As another poster said, sever ties with him, and never do buisness with him again. Because, if they are entitled to recoup what they paid him, aren't we the ultimate consumers entitled to be reimbursed for the products we purchaces under false advertisment?
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