Olympics and McDonald’s End Sponsorship Deal

(AP Photo)

(AP) – The Olympics and McDonald’s used to go together like a hamburger and fries, but they’re no longer a combo.

In a surprise move, the International Olympic Committee announced Friday it was ending its Olympic sponsorship deal with the fast-food giant three years before it was supposed to expire – severing a relationship that dated back to 1976.

No financial details were released, though as part of the IOC’s top-tier program, McDonald’s signed a contract extension in 2012 that was reportedly worth $200 million.

IOC marketing director Timo Lumme says, “we understand that McDonald’s is looking to focus on different business priorities.”

McDonald’s will, however, remain a national sponsor of the 2018 Olympics with domestic marketing rights in South Korea, and will operate restaurants in the Olympic park and village.

In Rio, McDonald’s got little cooperation from the IOC or local organizers and barely had a presence inside the Olympic gates. One of the few McDonald’s operating on Olympic turf was in the Athlete’s Village, and it typically had lines running out the door, up to 100 athletes deep.

With the end of the deal, the corresponding relationship between McDonald’s and the U.S. Olympic Committee also ends, though most of the company’s American activation focused on the Olympic rings and not a specific Team USA angle.

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