It was sort of funny when restaurants first started to offer Kawhi Leonard free food for life to stay in Toronto, but what about that time the player cost a fast-food franchise millions of dollars, thanks to his knack for sinking three-pointers? According to the Financial Post, McDonald’s is now out more than $5.4 million in medium-size fries’ sales after an unexpected increase in the Raptors shooting percentage. The company has dished out 700,000 more free orders than initially planned at its Ontario restaurants, all because Kawhi and the Raptors are the best ballers in the NBA right now.
McDonald's Canada started a free food promotion just eighteen days before DeMar DeRozan was traded in exchange for Leonard and Danny Green back in July of 2018. Every time 12 three-pointers are scored in a single Raptors game, McDonald's gives everyone in Ontario a free order of medium fries.
At the time it seemed like a good idea, considering the fact that the Raptors, with DeRozan, tended to average around 11.8 three-pointers a gamer. The Financial Post stated that McDonald's predicted that the team would hit 12 three-pointers in about half of the 82 games in the regular season.
Then came Kawhi Leonard. This season, the Raptors three-pointer threshold capped off at 44 times in the regular season, which isn’t that much more than half. However, the team also advanced all the way to the NBA Finals, thus stretching out the deal for much longer than McDonald's had initially anticipated.
According to CityNews, McDonald’s wasn’t the only fast-food franchise to shell out for the Raptors. Taco Bell also brought it’s “steal a game, steal a taco” promotion to Canada for the first time due to the team’s success. Pizza Pizza offered fans a free slice every time the Raptors hit a 100 points a game.
It wasn’t so much that McDonald's underestimated the Raptors, they just underestimated how many Ontarians would seize the opportunity to score free fries, reports the Chronicle Herald. In Game 1 of the finals alone, McDonald’s gave away a record-breaking 80,000 free orders. That's a lot of fries!