NBC’s Secret Underground Elite Starbucks in Sochi on Lockdown

Behind the secure walls of the NBC compound here is a Starbucks counter replete with baristas who serve up hot caffeinated drinks to the network’s employees. Some NBC employees were walking around the Olympic grounds proudly toting their signature green-and-white Starbucks cups, a perk financed entirely by the network.

But suddenly, no Starbucks cups are allowed outside NBC’s offices here. In fact, after The Wall Street Journal published an article about NBC’s very own Starbucks, the 15 baristas that NBC is paying to staff it have been doubling as security personnel, handing over steaming Starbucks cups only after ascertaining that recipients don’t intend to leave NBC offices.

The rub is that Starbucks isn’t an Olympics sponsor. The sponsor designated to serve branded coffee at the Games is McDonald’s, MCD +1.20% whose McCafes are selling a variety of specialty coffee drinks.

After the Journal article was published, NBC coffee enthusiasts showed up at their much-loved private Starbucks and found a new warning sign. “Please enjoy your Starbucks within NBC space only,” the announcement said in capital letters. “Do not leave NBC space with your Starbucks cup.”

NBC's 'Secret' Starbucks Goes on Lockdown