McDonald’s is poised to open its new location in London, set to be the largest location in the world with a staff of 500 and seating for 1,500 people. This move is in conjunction with its longtime sponsorship of the Olympics, and the location will be dismantled after the conclusion of the Olympic Games. However, opponents of McDonald’s and fellow Olympic sponsor Coca Cola are calling for a ban of these brands at 2012’s Olympic Games.
Less than a month before the Olympics begin, the London Assembly has voted to call for a ban on both sponsors. They feel that because the Olympics represent the world’s best athletes, two companies that contribute to obesity and provide high-calorie food should not be the event’s primary sponsors. The London Assembly is an elected group of officials that monitors the activities of the Mayor of London and may amend the mayor’s annual budget. The Assembly urges the International Olympic Committee to adopt strict criteria in choosing sponsors of the Games, excluding companies that contribute to poor health like McDonald’s and Coca Cola.
Coca Cola however is the Olympic Games’ longest-running sponsor, supporting the event since 1928. McDonald’s has also sponsored the Olympic Games since 1976, and the two companies have developed a mutually beneficial relationship with the athletic event. These sponsors are crucial to the continued success of the Olympic Games, which relies on these commercial partnerships to continue. In fact, sponsors account for over 40% of Olympic revenues, and McDonald’s and Coca Cola have been two of the largest contributors for many years.
Though UK doctors claims that the Olympic sponsorships of these two companies sends the wrong message in a country facing high obesity rates, their sponsorship is necessary for the continuation of the Olympic Games. According to McDonald’s UK’s chief executive however, some of these accusations are unfounded given the company’s recent attempts to improve the nutritional content of their menu. “We do offer a breadth of menu. You can see on the menu here we have grilled chicken wraps, we have salads, fruit smoothies as well as the more indulgent recipes that people know and love.”
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