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IOC hails ‘ground-breaking’ Alibaba partnership

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba has agreed a long-term deal to become a top-tier partner of the International Olympic Committee.

The deal will run through until the 2028 summer Olympic Games and names Alibaba as an official Worldwide Olympic Partner of the IOC under its ‘TOP’ programme.

Alibaba will serve as the official cloud services and e-commerce platform services partner of the IOC, and as a founding partner of the body’s Olympic Channel platform.

The agreement will cover six editions of the Olympics, including the 2022 winter Games, which will take place in the Chinese capital of Beijing. It will open with next year’s 2018 winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Alibaba’s rights will include advertising and promotional use of Olympic marks and imagery from the Games, as well as marks from National Olympic Committees.

As part of the deal, Alibaba’s cloud computing infrastructure and cloud services will be used to help the Games operate more efficiently, effectively and securely, including supporting data analytics requirements.

A global e-commerce platform will also be launched for Olympic stakeholders to engage and connect with fans seeking official Olympic-licensed products manufactured by the Olympic parties’ official licensees and selected sports products on a worldwide basis.

In addition, the group’s digital media technologies and expertise will be harnessed to develop and customise the Olympic Channel, which features live events coverage, highlights, magazine shows, news and original programming, for a Chinese audience.

“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,” IOC president Thomas Bach said. “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.”

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

The IOC made its last TOP partner signing in March 2015 as Japanese automotive company Toyota reached a deal running through to the 2024 Olympic Games. The top-tier deal has activated this year, but Toyota was provided with marketing rights in Japan with immediate effect. The worldwide agreement therefore covers four editions of the Olympics, from 2018 to 2024, including the 2020 summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Aside from Alibaba and Toyota, there are currently 11 other TOP partners, including Coca-Cola, Atos, Bridgestone, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, P&G, Samsung and Visa.