Just 18 days before Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Raptors, McDonald's had finalized a sponsorship deal to hand out free French fries every time the team made 12 three-point shots in a game.
The head of marketing for McDonald’s in Eastern Canada, Chuck Coolen secured the deal. When he heard about Kawhi’s trade, he called the Raptors’ parent company and asked what the trade meant. All he was told it that it would take the team “to the next level,” per the Post.
Now, the Raptors are definitely at the next level, currently leading two games to one in the first NBA finals in franchise history, which means McDonald's has had to give away a lot of fries. The two million medium-sized fries that have been handed out is nearly three times the 700,000 order estimate. The model was partially based on a previous fry giveaway program McDonald's had with the Montreal Canadiens.
During the 2018 season, the Raptors hit 12 or more three-pointers in 43 of 82 games, with another five games added in the playoffs. This season, however, the team reached that mark 44 times during the regular seasons, and, at this point, an additional 10 times during the playoffs.
At an average menu price of $2.89, the two million free orders given away during the regular season was $5.8 million worth of fries. For just Game One, where the Raptors hit 13 threes, McDonald's handed out a record number 80,000 free orders.
When asked if the head McDonald's office was concerned about how many free fries they were giving away, Coolen responded, “Yeah, of course,” according to the Post. However, his major concern was if the restaurant franchises could even handle the demand.