After 40 years, the relationship between McDonald’s and the International Olympic Committee has come to an end.
McDonald’s, which began sponsoring the United States Olympic Committee in 1976 and been a partner with the IOC since 1996, terminated the relationships with both entities on Friday afternoon.
"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," McDonald's Global Chief Marketing Officer Silvia Lagnado said in a statement. "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 organizing committees, for all of their support over the years."
McDonald’s will continue on as a partner with the Olympics with domestic marketing rights for the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, but their deal, which was set to run through the Tokyo 2020 games, will be terminated with immediate effect, according to CNBC.
"In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, we understand that McDonald’s is looking to focus on different business priorities," Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC Television and Marketing Services, said in a statement to AdAge. "For these reasons, we have mutually agreed with McDonald’s to part ways."
According to AdAge, McDonald’s is just the latest business to cut ties with the IOC, following the lead of other companies like AT&T, Budweiser and Hilton Hotels.
McDonald’s and the Olympic Games have a long history that dates back all the way to 1968. According to the company’s Olympic page, they airlifted hamburgers to athletes during the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, to help athletes deal with homesickness.
The company officially became a sponsor of the USOC in 1976, and became one of the Games’ TOP partners before the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Since then, McDonald’s has served food in the Olympic Village at each competition, and has served up specially branded advertisements, cups and other items in the years since.