Friday, 20 January 2017 11:13

Alibaba signs up to 11-year Olympic ‘digital era’ sponsorship deal Featured

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Alibaba's Jack Ma with IOC President Thomas Bach Alibaba's Jack Ma with IOC President Thomas Bach

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has signed an 11-year deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to become a major sponsor of the summer and winter Olympics.

Under the deal, Alibaba will be a major Olympic sponsor until 2028 and will become the official Cloud Services and e-commerce platform services partner and a founding partner of the Olympic Channel.

There were no details given on the value of the sponsorship but Bloomberg reports a source “familiar with the matter” suggesting it is worth US$800 million over the 11 years.

The partnership was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by IOC president Thomas Bach, Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma and chief executive Daniel Zhang.

Bach said the “ground-breaking, innovative alliance” would 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.

“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.”

Under the terms of the partnership, Alibaba’s contributions to the Olympic Movement will include:

•    Best-in-class cloud computing infrastructure and cloud services to help the Olympic Games operate more efficiently, effectively and securely, including supporting big data analytics requirements;

•    The creation of a global e-commerce platform 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; and

•    Leveraging Alibaba’s leading digital media technologies and know-how to develop and customise the Olympic Channel for a Chinese audience.

The sponsorship deal includes Alibaba getting the rights to advertising and promotional use of Olympic marks and imagery from the Olympic Games as well as marks from the National Olympic Committees.

Alibaba’s global activation rights include the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and the Olympic and Olympic Winter Games in 2024, 2026 and 2028 in cities yet to be selected by the IOC.

Alibaba is also the first Chinese company to commit to the Olympic Winter Games to be staged in Beijing in 2022.

Ma said Alibaba’s partnership with the IOC was built on a foundation of “shared values and a common vision for connecting the world and enriching people’s lives”.

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


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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