Armstrong foundation to launch fitness site

January 29, 2008 8:21:28 AM PST
The Lance Armstrong Foundation is getting into the online social-networking business with a Web site focusing on health and fitness issues. The for-profit site,, will launch later this year in a partnership with Demand Media Inc., an online media startup run by Richard Rosenblatt, the former head of

The site will cover a range of health issues with blogs, chat rooms, videos and other tools visitors can use to interact and share their own content.

The site will link to the nonprofit site, but the new site will not focus on cancer issues, the target of Armstrong's foundation.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Demand Media has about 60 Web sites, mostly focusing on niche activities with dedicated participants, such as golf, that it uses to generate advertising revenue. The company will keep any profits generated by

Rosenblatt said the health-and-fitness market targeted by is broader than the categories the company has focused on in the past.

"If we were going after a broad category like health and fitness ourselves, we wanted have the best brand," he said. "We would not take on a category this fat unless we had the LiveStrong brand."

Foundation president Doug Ulman said the organization sees the venture as a chance to drive awareness for its cause and the LiveStrong brand. The agreement also calls for Demand Media to provide online social networking tools and technologies for the foundation's Web site.

Those tools, which were valued at $8 million to $10 million, will enhance the nonprofit site by allowing cancer patients to "to share experiences, ideas and thoughts," Ulman said.

Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, and his cancer-fighting foundation each received an equity stake in Demand Media, officials said.

Rosenblatt and Ulman would not disclose the dollar value of the equity grants. But the stakes could be valuable if Demand Media is acquired or goes public.

"If they were to go public or were bought today, it would be a very significant amount of money donated to the foundation," Ulman said.

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