January 13 - McDonald's today officially announced here that it was extending its worldwide Olympic sponsorship until 2020.

The announcement was made at the first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games here at a ceremony attended by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge and McDonald's President and chief operating officer Don Thompson.

"We are delighted that McDonald's, our long-time and valued Olympic Partner for more than 35 years, is continuing its ongoing commitment not only to help fund the Olympic Games but also to support the Olympic Movement around the world and ultimately the athletes themselves," said Rogge.

It extends McDonald's relationship with the Olympics which stretches back to 1968 when the company airlifted in hamburgers for American athletes competing at the 1968 Winter Games in Gernoble.

"We share the Olympic ideals of teamwork, excellence and being your best," said Thompson (pictured below left with Rogge centre and Kevin Newell, the executive vice-president and global chief brand officer Kevin Newell right).

"Those ideals are at the heart of what McDonald's stands for and how we've brought the Games to life.

"Feeding the athletes is a tradition we are extremely proud of, and we look forward to continuing our role in helping to make the Games possible."

McDonald's first official association with the Olympics was at Montreal in 1976 and they became a woldwide sponsor in 1997.

McDonald's current deal ends after London 2012 and the new $100 million (£65 million/€78 million) agreement covers Sochi 2014, Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018 as well as the 2020 Olympics, which are due to be awarded next year to either Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo.

It also includes the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, the Winter event at Lillehammer in 2016 and the 2018 Summer event.

"We are very pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with McDonald's, and we appreciate the quality menu that McDonald's delivers at the Olympics as the Official Restaurant of the Games," said Gerhard Heiberg, the chairman of the IOC's Marketing Commission.

"We believe that the long-term agreements we have in place with leading companies are a testament to the continued strength and appeal of the Olympic Games as a global marketing platform for sport."

McDonald's would join P&G, Visa, Omega, Dow Chemical, General Electric and Coca-Cola who already have sponsorship agreements through the 2020 Games.

By Duncan Mackay

Source: www.insidethegames.biz