One of the most recognized sports promotions over the past four decades has been McDonalds and the Olympics. McDonalds values of universality, accessibility, and team spirit have led to a partnership that began in 1968 when McDonalds airlifted hamburgers to athletes competing in Grenoble, France. In 1976 McDonalds became an official sponsor for the first time for the Olympic Games in Montreal. “From 1988 to 1994, McDonald’s was the sponsor in several countries around the world of National Olympic Committees. In 1996, McDonald’s extended its long-standing commitment to the Olympic Movement by joining the Top Olympic Program (TOP) and becoming a Worldwide Sponsor. This was the first time in the history of the Games that a branded restaurant operated in the Olympic Village.” (http://www.mcdonalds.ca/en/aboutus/sport.aspx)
In 2004 McDonald’s gained exclusive marketing rights in the restaurant and food service category for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy; the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China; the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada; and the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“McDonald’s has been a proud Olympic partner for nearly three decades because we believe in the spirit and ideals of the Games,” said Jim Cantalupo, McDonald’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “As a global brand serving 47 million customers every day, we share the same core principles of teamwork, excellence and being the best that make the Olympic Games a model of excellence for the world.” (http://www.junkfoodnews.net/mcdonalds-olympics.htm)
“As a TOP sponsor, McDonald’s rights include: use of the Olympic rings in global marketing efforts; exclusive sponsorship opportunities with the 201 national Olympic teams around the world; and status as the Official Restaurant Partner of the Olympic Games through 2012. In addition to providing food service at the Olympic Games, McDonald’s will conduct Olympic-themed promotions and activities to support the Olympic Games in its markets and countries worldwide.”
As a child growing up, the Olympics were always synonymous with McDonalds in my mind. In the summer of 1992 I ate at McDonalds every day so I could collect the Dream Team basketball cups. Today those cups are valued collectibles. The Michael Jordan Dream Team Olympic cup sells for $100 alone.
While McDonald’s has received criticism in recent years as a cause for childhood obesity, it is ironic that it has formulated such a powerful presence with the Olympics, the greatest measure of health, endurance, and fitness. There is no doubt that the golden arches have found a marriage with the Olympic rings, a partnership that continues to produce a golden standard of success.