IOC (International Olympic Committee)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba becomes major Olympic Games sponsor until 2028

Company joins partner worldwide sponsorship programme concerning official e-commerce and cloud services for summer and winter editions of the global showpiece

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 8:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 January, 2017, 10:55pm

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba has become a major sponsor of the Olympic Games after signing a deal with the International Olympic Committee that runs until 2028, the two parties said on Thursday.

Alibaba becomes the official e-commerce and cloud services partner and joins 12 other companies, including Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, as top sponsors after joining The Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship programme.

No financial details were disclosed, but International Olympic Committee (IOC) sources have previously said that major sponsors pay around US$100 million per four-year cycle, which includes one summer and one winter Olympic Games.

The deal comes as Asia prepares to host three consecutive Olympic Games with South Korea’s Pyeongchang staging the 2018 winter edition, Tokyo the 2020 summer version and Beijing the 2022 winter showpiece.

The deal for Alibaba’s global activation rights also includes the summer and winter Olympic Games in 2024, 2026 and 2028 in cities yet to be selected by the IOC.

“This is a ground-breaking, innovative alliance, and will help drive efficiencies in the organisation of the Olympic Games through 2028, whilst also supporting the global development of digital opportunities including the Olympic Channel,” said IOC president Thomas Bach after the partnership was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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“In this new digital world, Alibaba is uniquely positioned to help the IOC achieve a variety of key objectives outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, while positively shaping the future of the Olympic Movement.”

Alibaba is the first company to make a long-term commitment to the IOC through until 2028 and the first Chinese company to commit to the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Alibaba will support the organisers of each edition of the Olympic Games, and the Olympic Movement around the world.

The rights will include advertising and promotional use of Olympic marks and imagery from the Olympic Games as well as marks from the National Olympic Committees.

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“Alibaba’s partnership with the IOC is built on a foundation of shared values and a common vision for connecting the world and enriching people’s lives,” said Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, which owns the South China Morning Post.

“We are proud to support Olympic Agenda 2020, using our innovations and technologies to help evolve the Olympic Games for the digital era.”

The partnership will see Alibaba contribute cloud computing infrastructure and cloud services, including supporting data analytics requirements.

Alibaba will also create a global e-commerce platform for Olympic stakeholders to engage and connect with fans seeking official licensed products and selected sports products on a worldwide basis.

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“Alibaba is proud to empower the International Olympic Committee in a game-changing digital transformation, while moving another step closer toward our goal to serve two billion consumers,” said Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group.

“We will leverage our experience in serving a young user base to help connect more young people to the Olympic Movement, helping to strengthen our brand through this historic partnership.”

Additional reporting by Reuters