The Raptors’ Run To The NBA Finals Has Cost McDonalds Millions Of Dollars In Fries

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Turns out the only people in Canada may be those balancing the budgets for the Canadian McDonalds food costs. A promotion organized by McDonalds in Canada has given Raptors fans millions of orders of fries this season as the only NBA team left in Canada has reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

The story was laid out by the Financial Post, which went into detail about why fans are getting so many free medium orders of french fries up north, and the answer is a bit complicated. The piece is framed around the arrival of Kawhi Leonard by trade over the offseason, when the promotion was launched.

The deal is this: if the Raptors hit 12 threes in a game, everyone gets free fries at McDonalds. This isn’t anything new: the fast food company has had a similar deal with the Raptors and the Montreal Canadiens in the past. But the X factor here is that the Raptors are much better this year, and they’ve gone on a much longer postseason run than the company expected.

The result: Canada has eaten a lot of french fries over the last two months.

Last season, the Raptors hit 12 or more three-pointers in 43 of 82 games, and added another five games in the playoffs. This season the three-point threshold was reached 44 times in the regular season and another 10 — so far — in a much longer playoff run.

McDonald’s didn’t underestimate the Raptors so much as it did the appetite for free fries in Ontario. The regular season’s two million free orders — at an average menu price of $2.89 — was $5.8 million worth of fries.

While full tallies for the playoffs were not available, in Game One of the finals alone, where the Raptors hit 13 threes, McDonald’s gave away a record 80,000 free orders.

That’s a lot of money McDonalds is letting walk out of the restaurant for free, let alone all the extra work franchises have to put in to make sure they’re ready for free fry days. But officials are quoted as saying they think the promotion will pay off in the future. Another interesting note here is that they picked the Raptors over the Maple Leafs because they thought their fans would be more “digital,” which is a nice buzz word for “younger.”

There’s also a bit about how they came up with the amount of threes it would require to get free fries.

The marketing team knew they wanted to give away fries when the Raptors scored a certain amount of three-pointers. It was up to the marketing group, which includes a selection of franchisees, to figure out how many three-pointers would be appropriate.

“We’re sitting there, and you know, honestly I didn’t really have too many clues about how many three-pointers are normal,” Forman said. “All of us are on our phones looking up stats trying to see what’s what.”

McDonald’s settled on 12, after hearing arguments for 11 (since the previous season average was 11.8.)

When the Raptors traded for Leonard, the team had a few weeks to change their minds on the promotion. They decided against it, and the rest is history. But at least hoops fans in the GTA have gotten a good deal on some spuds over the last few weeks.