McDonald’s ended its longtime Olympic sponsorship
U.S. fast-food giant McDonald’s has ended its 41-year-long Olympic Games sponsorship deal three years early, the International Olympic Committee said.
Financial terms of the separation were not disclosed. The US fast food giant has supported the Olympic Games since 1976 contributes more than $1 billion in every event. Although the split takes place with immediate effect they will continue to be a sponsor at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
Timmo Lumme, managing director of IOC Television and Marketing Services said that in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, we understand that McDonald’s is looking to focus on different business priorities.
While it is unusual for an Olympic sponsor to leave early, sponsors change regularly within the IOC’s top program. The most recent addition was China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which signed a deal in January for a partnership through 2028.
McDonald’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Silvia Lagnado said said that as part of our global growth plan, we are reconsidering all aspects of our business and have made this decision in cooperation with the IOC to focus on different priorities.
McDonald’s has been tightening costs as it invests in improving its food quality, restaurant service and online ordering to woo back diners in the United States, where intense competition has gnawed away at sales.
The company, first involved with the Games in 1968, was its food retail sponsor. Despite pulling out with immediate effect, McDonald’s will continue at next year’s Pyeongchang winter Olympics as sponsors with domestic marketing rights.
The IOC said it was not planning a direct replacement for McDonald’s.
The IOC has faced criticism from public health campaigners for allowing sponsors such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s to use the Games as an opportunity to market their products, which are perceived to be unhealthy, in contrast to what the event seeks to promote.