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Armstrong launching for-profit fitness site

The bike racing champion is teaming with Demand Media.

June 17, 2008|Joseph Menn | Times Staff Writer

Bicycle racing champion Lance Armstrong is going dot-com in a big way.

The seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor is teaming with Santa Monica-based Demand Media Inc. on a for-profit website that helps users stay on track with fitness and weight-loss goals.

LiveStrong.com, a spinoff of Armstrong's nonprofit site LiveStrong.org, was scheduled to emerge from a test version Monday.

LiveStrong.com will be run by Demand Media, with Armstrong and his Lance Armstrong Foundation getting undisclosed stakes in that new-media company. Armstrong's foundation will also get the right to use some of Demand Media's software tools for connecting users on the LiveStrong.org volunteer site.

Like some smaller health sites, LiveStrong.com offers space for food and exercise diaries. But it also has social networking features to connect users to those with similar goals and a trove of text and video content that is produced by paid freelancers.

The structure is partly based on TheDailyPlate.com, a food and fitness site already owned by Demand Media.

Founded two years ago, Demand Media has raised $355 million from private investors and spent some of that to acquire how-to sites EHow and ExpertVillage and various special-interest sites.

Demand Media is led by Richard Rosenblatt, best known for selling Intermix Media Inc., the parent of MySpace, to News Corp. for $580 million in 2005.

Armstrong met Rosenblatt after Rosenblatt joined the board of energy drink maker FRS Co. Armstrong is an investor and director of FRS.

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joseph.menn@latimes.com

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