Television

Alibaba starts Olympic run with a multi-billion $ sponsorship deal

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\NEW DELHI: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group yesterday started its Olympic run by signing a multi-billion dollar multi-year deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to become the official `Cloud Services’ and `E-commerce Platform Services’ partner, as well as a Founding Partner of the Olympic Channel, according to an announcement by both the organisations.

The Olympic Partner (TOP) sponsorship deal running through 2028 and announced at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which according to some media reports further burnished Chinese credentials in the global economy, has Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) joining 12 other companies, including Coca-Cola and McDonald's, as top Olympic sponsors.

Though no financial details were disclosed, a Reuters report from Davos separately stated IOC sources had previously told the news agency that major sponsors pay about $100 million per four-year cycle, which includes one summer and one winter games.

According to a statement put out by IOC on its website, the partnership was announced at Davos in the presence of IOC president Thomas Bach, Alibaba Group founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma and Alibaba Group Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.

Commenting on the partnership, Bach said: “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. 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.”

Through this partnership, Alibaba’s contributions to the Olympic Movement will include the following:

--- 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

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

“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, adding, “We are proud to support Olympic Agenda 2020, using our innovations and technologies to help evolve the Olympic Games for the digital era.” Alibaba’s Zhang described the partnership as a “game-changing digital transformation”, which will help the company in moving “another step closer” toward its goal to “serve two billion consumers” and strengthen the company’s brand by connecting more “young people to the Olympic Movement”.

IOC’s Marketing Commission head Tsunekazu Takeda said: “We are delighted to be working in the long term with Alibaba for the benefit of the Olympic Movement. This strategic partnership underlines the global appeal of the Olympic values and opens an exciting new chapter in this digital age.”

Alibaba is the first company to make a long-term commitment to the IOC through 2028 and the first Chinese company to commit to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The company will support the organisers of each edition of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement around the world, according to the official statement. These 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.

Alibaba’s global activation rights will 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.

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