Defying a ban on products from non-sponsors, NBC flew in a 15-person barista army to keep its employees in Sochi caffeinated with Starbucks coffee. The rest of the Olympic Village, forced to swill the grounds under the pallid glow of the Golden Arches, have been hauling around sleds filled with McEnvy. From the Wall Street Journal:
The media giant, which paid $775 million for exclusive U.S. broadcasting rights for the Games, has erected the Sochi Starbucks in its cordoned-off area of the Olympic media center. Baristas serve the free java 24-hours-a-day to the roughly 2,500 people NBC says it sent here.
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. As with past Games, Starbucks has gladly cooperated with the effort.
By the numbers, the Starbucks delegation is bigger than that of 57 countries at Sochi.
It's unclear if the Sochi Starbucks serves any items off the secret menu. Also, thankfully, there have been no reports about whether Bob Costas frequented the Starbucks to make a home remedy of coffee grounds in a gauze pad for his pinkeye. Now that would be a story.