McDonald's cancels Olympics sponsorship early to end 41-year partnership

Joe Hall
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McDonald's Olympics
The Olympic Park hosted Europe's largest McDonald's during the 2012 London Games (Source: Getty)

McDonald's has abruptly brought its Olympic Games sponsorship to an end after 41 years, after terminating its deal three years early.

The American fast food chain, which has been a sponsor of every Olympics since 1976, said it made the decision after reconsidering business priorities.

Sponsors contribute around $1bn to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) revenue every four year Games cycle, with McDonald's agreement worth a reported $100m for sponsorship of the summer and winter Games every two years.

The deal was in place until 2022, but McDonald's is re-focusing on improving food quality in service to stem its sales slide in the US where it has been hurt by increased competition.

Read more: As non-sponsoring brands get more scope to cash in on Olympic fever, official partners may be getting a bum deal

"The IOC's sponsorship strategy is aimed at delivering long-term partnerships that help the Olympic Movement achieve the objectives set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, our strategic roadmap for the future," said managing director of IOC Television and Marketing services Timo Lumme.

"In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, we understand that McDonald's is looking to focus on different business priorities."

Financial details of the separation, which brings the partnership to an end with immediate effect, were not disclosed.

McDonald's was one of the IOC's top tier sponsors alongside Coca-Cola, Visa and Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant which committed to an 11-year deal worth $1bn in January.

Recent reports suggest that tech firm Intel could soon be announced as McDonald's replacement.

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