IOC Questioned Renewing Deals With McDonald's, Coke Amid Global Obesity Crisis
IOC President Jacques Rogge said that top Olympics officials "questioned whether it was appropriate" to allow IOC TOP sponsor McDonald’s to "continue sponsoring the games amid mounting concern about the global obesity crisis,” according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Rogge said that there “had been a ‘question mark’ over the sponsorship of the Olympics by McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, a sponsor of the games since 1928 and also signed up until 2020.” Rogge: “For those companies, we’ve said to them: ‘Listen, there is an issue in terms of the growing trend on obesity, what are you going to do about that?’” Rogge said deciding to renew McDonald’s sponsorship deal “was not an easy decision.” But he added, “Then we decided to go and to have the benefit of their support at grassroots levels.” He pointed to the “introduction by McDonald’s of healthier menu options and Coca-Cola’s zero-calorie drinks as evidence of the companies’ taking their public health responsibilities seriously” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/9). Blitz notes Rogge “insists the Games are no more or less commercial than when he took over in 2001.” Rogge said, “Our approach is not more commercial, the returns or the revenues we get have augmented.” He said that although IOC revenues "may look healthy,” they need to be “maintained and sponsorship is vital.” Rogge said that the IOC is providing $1.3B to London “in cash and value in kind,” but he insisted that it “is not the IOC’s responsibility to help fund the construction of venues and determine the legacy of hosting the games” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/9).
YOUR NAME HERE: In Ft. Worth, Gil Lebreton noted the USOC in ’00 “began paying qualifying athletes for their living and training expenses.” However, Olympians can now “be paid for public speaking appearances and for endorsing products.” U.S. Gold Medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps has “lucrative sponsorship deals with, among others, Hilton, Subway and Omega.” Gold Medal-winning swimmer Dara Torres has “endorsement agreements with McDonald's, HP and Bengay.” Gold Medal-winning gymnast Nastia Liukin has deals with Visa, AT&T and Longines, and hurdler Lolo Jones has deals with Asics, Oakley, BP and Red Bull, "though she has yet to win an Olympic medal” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/8).