SBD/June 16, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

Golden No More: McDonald's Ending Longtime Association With IOC, USOC

McDonald's for the '12 London Games opened a 32,000-square-foot facility
McDonald's is ending its longtime partnerships with both the IOC and USOC "effective immediately," according to Jessica Wohl of AD AGE. The QSR has sponsored the USOC since '76 and has served as an IOC TOP sponsor since '96. McDonald's and the IOC claim they "mutually agreed" to end the deal. However, Wolh reports McDonald's "changing marketing strategies and business goals appear to have sparked the decision." McDonald's plans to "operate Olympic Park and Olympic Village restaurants one last time" at the '18 PyeongChang Games. McDonald's "remains a sponsor" of that event, but has "rights to do marketing in Korea only." The IOC has "yet not named a replacement sponsor in retail food operations and said it has no immediate plans to do so." McDonald's is the "latest sponsor to walk away from the Olympics." Earlier this year, A-B InBev's Budweiser "ended its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Team after a 32-year run." Citi, Hilton, TD Ameritrade and AT&T have also "exited their Olympics sponsorships in recent months." McDonald's in '12 "extended its Olympics sponsorship" through '20, but the brand is trying to cut costs by $500M by the end of '18 and "plans to trim costs even further the following year" (ADAGE.com, 6/16). NBCSPORTS.com's Nick Zaccardi notes McDonald's gets "plenty of Games-time buzz for it's athletes' village store, where athletes can get food for free." Gold Medal-winning sprinter Usain Bolt "wrote that he ate 1,000 chicken McNuggets" during the '08 Beijing Games. McDonald's during the '12 London Games "opened the largest freestanding restaurant in the world" -- a 32,000-square-foot facility that had two floors (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/16).
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