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McDonald's ends Olympics sponsorship deal three years early

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McDonald’s and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have ended their 41-year old partnership, with immediate effect. This is three years ahead of the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics. According to Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC television and marketing services, this comes as McDonald’s looks to “focus on different business priorities”.According to a press statement announcing the move, the decision was a mutual one, with all financial terms of separation agreed upon by all parties. IOC “has no immediate plans” to appoint a direct replacement for McDonald’s in the retail food operations sponsorship category. It will also review the category in the broader context of existing Olympic marketing programmes.However, McDonald’s will continue to be a sponsor of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. This is with domestic marketing rights in the Republic of Korea only. According to the announcement, the company will deliver its games-time operations, including restaurants in the Olympic Park and the Olympic Village.“I would like to thank our friends at McDonald’s on behalf of the IOC for the commitment the company has shown to the Olympic Movement over many decades,” Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC television and marketing services, said.“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. We have been proud to support the Olympic Movement, and we thank our customers and staff, the spectators, athletes and officials, as well as the IOC and local Olympics Games organising committees, for all of their support over the years,” Silvia Lagnado, McDonald’s global chief marketing officer, said.In May this year, OMEGA extended its partnership with the IOC to 2032 as the official timekeeper for the Olympics. The partnership saw the brand providing timing, scoring, and in-venue results system and equipment for the Olympic Games.Meanwhile in January, Alibaba also signed on to become a major sponsor of the Olympic Games through 2028. The Chinese e-commerce giant became the official e-commerce and cloud services partner of the Olympics. Other brands which are currently members of The Olympic Partner programme include Coca-Cola, Bridgestone, Panasonic and Toyota. 

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