McDonald’s reveals the damage of Raptors’ historic run: more than 2.5 million free french fries

McDonald's french fries. (Courtesy: Richard Vogel, AP)

McDonald’s restaurants in Ontario gave away more than half a million orders of free french fries during the Toronto Raptors 2019 NBA playoffs run, the company said Monday, after tallying the final numbers for its runaway promotion.

Response to the offer — free medium french fries in Ontario whenever the Raptors scored 12 or more three-pointers in a game — nearly quadrupled McDonald’s forecast, totalling more than 2.5 million fries in the regular season and playoffs combined, the hamburger chain said.

After the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in game six to win the NBA Finals last week, hitting 13 three-pointers in the process, McDonald’s gave out 110,000 free orders of medium fries — double the regular-season average and more than six times what McDonald’s expected to give out each game.

McDonald’s executives agreed on the major sponsorship deal with the Raptors just days before a blockbuster trade brought superstar Kawhi Leonard to Toronto in July 2018. McDonald’s forecasts, based in part on a similar promotion with the Montreal Canadiens, predicted the Raptors would make 12 or more three-pointers in half their 82 games in the regular season, leading to roughly 700,000 free fries, or around 17,000 per game.

Instead, as Leonard and the Raptors surged in popularity, McDonald’s gave out 2 million fries in the regular season alone — even though the team only slightly exceeded McDonald’s expectations, hitting 12 or more threes in 44 of 82 games.