Only official sponsors are allowed to have a presence on Olympic grounds, so the only place to really get coffee is McDonald’s.
But the 2,500 employees who NBC flew to Sochi for the Olympics didn’t want to have to drink McDonald’s coffee the entire time so the network created a secret Starbucks inside its offices, according to the Wall Street Journal.
From the Journal:
Bringing in the joe is a delicate exercise. NBC flies in a rotating crew of some 15 baristas from Starbucks coffee shops in Russia, sets them up with accommodations in Sochi, and pays their regular wages.
The Starbucks is open 24 hours, around the clock, and there are around 57 baristas that NBC flies in from places like Moscow and St. Petersburg.
While the Starbucks is private and only open to NBC employees, some of the signature cups have made their way into the public, something that both NBC and Starbucks deny is any sort of marketing campaign. If it were a marketing campaign it would go against Olympic rules, but NBC says because its Starbucks is secluded and not open in any way to the public it does not break any rules.
NBC’s senior vice president of Olympic operations John Fritsche told the Wall Street Journal that NBC keeps “tight security” on the Starbucks but that they share a bit with other broadcasters.
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