SBJ/June 12 - 18, 2000/Olympics

McDonald’s re-ups for 4 years

McDonald's Corp. announced last week that it has extended its global Olympic sponsorship for another four years, encompassing both the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002 and the Summer Olympics in Athens in 2004.

As the official restaurant and food-service provider to the Games and the Olympic committees of all participating countries, McDonald's will continue to stage Olympic-themed promotions around the world and will serve athletes in temporary restaurants at the Olympic villages.

"I think there's a great synergy and fit between the McDonald's brand and the Olympic brand and what they stand for," said Dean Barrett, vice president of global marketing at McDonald's, which has been a global Olympic sponsor since the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

The company also announced the launch of the "McDonald's Olympic Achievers" program, in which McDonald's will send more than 400 teen-agers from around the world to the Olympic Youth Camp, which runs concurrent with the Games, starting this year in Sydney. The teen-agers will be chosen based on their academic, athletic and community-service accomplishments.

In the United States, Olympic-themed advertising will break this summer, along with an in-store promotion.

The Salt Lake City bribery scandal has apparently not hindered the International Olympic Committee's sales efforts. McDonald's became the eighth of 11 worldwide Olympic sponsors to renew through 2004.

"We felt both the IOC and USOC have done a tremendous job of dealing with the issues and made some gigantic steps to address some of their concerns," Barrett said. "And I believe those to be internal issues because our consumers continue to tell us the Olympics are an ideal they respect and follow."

Discussions continue between the IOC and the three sponsors that have not yet renewed: UPS, Panasonic and Samsung.

"Our hope and expectation is they'll all renew," said Dick Pound, vice president of the IOC. "I hope at least two of the three will be signed up before Sydney."

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