Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors have cost McDonald's millions this season due to a free fry promotion.
The Raptors' 2018-19 success and their NBA Finals playoff run have cost McDonald's restaurants in Ontario, Canada more than $5.8 million in free french fries as part of a giveaway tied to the number of three's Toronto scores in a game.
McDonald's gave out more than two million free medium-sized orders of french fries during the Raptors' regular season–nearly three times the 700,000 orders that the company originally projected, according to The Financial Post. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals alone, when the Raptors made 13 threes to trigger the promotion, McDonald’s gave away a record 80,000 free orders. At an average menu price of $2.89, that's almost $6 million in free fries.
Chuck Coolen, head of marketing for McDonald's in Eastern Canada, said the company and the Raptors finalized a sponsorship deal 18 days before Demar DeRozan was traded for Kawhi Leonard last summer. The deal was that any time the Raptors made more than 12 three-pointers in a game (a number derived from the Raptors' 2017-18 season average of 11.8 shots scored from deep per game), Toronto fans could come in for free french fries.
The Raptors hit 12 threes in 44 of 82 regular season games and another 10 so far during their playoff run. Guards Danny Green and Kyle Lowry led the team in three-pointers made during the regular season at 2.5 and 2.4 per game, respectively. Leonard followed at 1.9 threes per game.
Coolen says that the team's success this season and especially in the playoffs has brought about a renewed enthusiasm around the team, leading more fans to take advantage of the fast food giant's free fry offering.
Mike Forman, who owns four McDonald's franchises in Whitby, Ontario, noted that while the company is losing money now due to the giveaway, he believes there are long-term benefits to come.
“We believe it will pay off in the future,” Forman told The Financial Post.
The Raptors hold a 2–1 lead over the reigning champion Warriors going into Friday night's Game 4. The game is scheduled to tip off from Oracle Arena at 9 p.m. ET.