U.S. fast-food giant McDonald’s have ended their 41-year-long official sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee, pulling out of their contract three years early, the IOC said on Friday.
The U.S. company, a sponsor since 1976 and part of the IOC’s top sponsors program that contributes more than one billion dollars in every four-year cycle for the Games, had a contract running to 2020 and the Tokyo summer Olympics.
“In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, we understand that McDonald’s is looking to focus on different business priorities,” Timmo Lumme, Managing Director of IOC Television and Marketing Services, said in a statement.
“For these reasons, we have mutually agreed with McDonald’s to part ways.”
McDonald’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Silvia Lagnado said in the IOC-issued statement: “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 (MCD), first involved with the Games in 1968, was its foods retail sponsor. Despite pulling out with immediate effect, McDonald’s will continue at next year’s Pyeongchang winter Olympics as sponsors with domestic marketing rights.
The IOC said it was not planning a direct replacement in the food retail department.