Industry News | January 13, 2012 | QSR Exclusive Brief

McDonald’s Renews Olympic Sponsorship Through 2020

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McDonald’s has pledged to stay at the top of its game–the Olympic games, that is.

This morning in Innsbruck, Austria, the site of the inaugural 2012 Youth Olympic Games, McDonald’s President and COO Don Thompson announced the renewal of the brand’s Olympic partnership through the 2020 games.

“We truly believe in the spirit of the Games, and their unique ability–this is something very special to us at McDonald’s–to unify the world in a way that is constructive, positive, and inspirational,” Thompson says.

Thompson and Kevin Newell, the company’s global chief brand officer, spoke of the significance of the sponsorship in encouraging McDonald’s goal of healthy, active children.

“We’re looking to raise our game,” Newell says. “We’re excited that markets are introducing our McDonald’s Champions of Play in the next few months.”

Champions of Play is McDonald’s new Olympic initiative. It touts a healthy, active lifestyle for kids by allowing them to spend time with athletes and learn about healthy eating.

Happy Meals and in-store restaurant material will include tips on balanced eating and being active, while Happy Meal packaging will offer fitness advice. A playbook with suggested activities will also be distributed to children, and online they will be able to track their fitness and get encouragement from Olympic athletes.

Four new restaurants, meanwhile, built in Olympic Park for the 2012 London games, will feature McDonald’s most diverse menu ever as well as the cutting-edge, contemporary design McDonald’s Europe is known for.

London 2012 will also be McDonald’s greenest games ever, with 70 percent of materials being reusable or recyclable.

“As a top sponsor, we have always challenged ourselves to create more relevant and meaningful programs,” Newell says.

Countries around the world will also develop their own grassroots campaigns tying into local communities to build a regional bond with the Games.

The sponsorship renewal goes through the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; the 2016 Sumer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea; the 2020 Summer Games (location undecided); and the 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 Youth Games.

“McDonald’s has a deep and a longstanding commitment to youth sports and physical activity, and we look forward to supporting the next generation of Olympic hopefuls,” Thompson says. “This is really about people. “

By Sonya Chudgar