Fast food chain McDonald's has won out on exclusive franchising at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London where they are planning on constructing the World's largest branch (seating over 1,500 patrons) in the Olympic Village. The sponsorship has angered British health experts who say that the partnership will contribute to the ballooning obesity crisis, with customers associating fast food and the health of the Olympic athletes. Says Academy of Royal Medical Colleges spokesman Terence Stephenson:
It's very sad that an event that celebrates the very best of athletic achievements should be sponsored by companies contributing to the obesity problem and unhealthy habits.
Health experts are also calling out the Games' beer and non-alcoholic beverage sponsors Heineken and Coca-Cola:
"When any major sporting event has an official alcohol supplier, it sends out completely the wrong messages to young people, making it seem as though no major event is complete without alcohol," said Sir Ian Gilmore, special adviser to the Royal College of Physicians on alcohol.
All of the harumphing over the partnerships with Coca-Cola, Heineken and McDonald's is likely for naught. McDonald's has been a partner of the Olympic games since 1976 and Olympic officials have released a statement, saying, "Sponsors provide a huge amount of the funding required to stage the games. Without our partners such as McDonald's, the games simply wouldn't happen."
McDonald's estimates that 1 in 10 visitors to the Games will eat at their restaurant. May the odds be ever in their flavor.
Image via AP.
World's largest McDonald's: A big ad for obesity, say British doctors [Christian Science Monitor]