A year in the making, Alibaba strikes Olympic Games landmark e-commerce deal

19th Jan 2017

PyeongChang, where the Winter Olympic Games will take place in 2018

The world’s largest retailer has struck a landmark deal with the International Olympic Committee. Speaking from Davos, where the World Economic Forum is currently taking place, Alibaba group executive and chairman Jack Ma said the 12 year strategic deal would enlist Alibaba’s digital capabilities in helping the Olympics with cloud computing, analytics, e-commerce and a year-round Olympic Channel.

Daniel Bach, chairman of the IOC, declared that the deal would “transform the global Olympic movement.”

After introducing the deal, Ma explained that the context of the partnership comes from Alibaba’s “Happiness and Health initiative”, the same diversification strategy that saw the retailer branch out into cinema.

Bach outlined Alibaba’s packages for the IOC in three initiatives. First up will be cloud computing and web analytics, evolving the digital sophistication of the Olympic organising committee and the individual games.

Second will be a new, bespoke e-commerce platform for the Olympics, allowing the IOC and authorised vendors to sell products and services across the globe.

And finally, Alibaba will become a founding partner of the IOC’s year round Olympic Channel, with a mission to provide technical assistant and promote the channel in China.

"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," Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba, said in a press release.

“We are founded in China, but built for the world,” Ma added.

The agreement, which Bach said had been a year in the making, will see Alibaba obtain rights including advertising and promotional use of Olympic marks and imagery from the Games, as well as marks from the National Olympic Committees.

Alibaba will now join 12 other companies, including Coca-Cola and McDonald’s as major Olympic sponsors. Although no financial details were disclosed, IOC sources have previously told press that major sponsors pay around USD 100 million per four-year cycle, including one summer and one winter games.

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

"This is a ground-breaking, innovative alliance, and will help drive efficiencies in the organisation of the Olympic Games through 2028," said IOC President Thomas Bach.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the IOC’s marketing commission chair, 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.


Ava Szajna

My Retail Media


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