The eye-popping McDonald’s at Gangneung Olympic Park in PyeongChang, South Korea is built to look like an Extra Value Meal. It’s offering free Big Macs to all the athletes.
But McDonald’s role in the Games has shrunk dramatically since the Rio de Janeiro Olympics only two years ago. In fact, CNN Money reports that the Golden Arches just terminated its decades-long sponsorship of the International Olympic Committee, putting an early end to a deal that was set to expire in 2020.
For American audiences, that means the Olympic-themed McDonald’s advertisements of yesteryear will no longer be shown on television.
While the reason for the partnership’s termination is unclear, both sides confirm that it was a mutual decision.
“We are proud of everything that we have achieved as an Olympic sponsor, but as a part of our global growth plan, we are reconsidering all aspects of our business,” McDonald’s told CNN Money. “As a result, we have made the decision, in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee, to focus on different priorities.”
McDonald’s Olympic sponsorship began with the 1976 Games in Montreal. It has built restaurants in both the Olympic Park and Olympic Village since the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
But in recent years, the fast-food chain has come under fire from public health professionals for promoting fitness in its Olympic advertising while selling high-calorie food products.