Alibaba announces major long-term digital deal with Olympics – Yahoo Finance

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is getting into the sports world.

On Thursday afternoon in Davos at the 2017 World Economic Forum, Alibaba and the International Olympic Committee announced a long-term digital partnership through 2028.

Just in time for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Alibaba becomes the digital partner of the Olympic Games in three key areas: cloud services, e-commerce, and television.

Alibaba will use its cloud platform to run the IOC’s digital presence “more efficiently and securely,” according to a press release; it will create a new global e-commerce platform for the Olympics; and it will help develop a new Olympic television channel for a Chinese audience.

“We don’t want to [just] be another sponsor to IOC,” said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s CEO. “We want to be a true partner to be a game-changer.” Executive chairman Jack Ma added, “Of course we want to enable IOC, but also IOC is enabling us in our global dream.”

Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, said that Alibaba’s “first-in-class” cloud technology will “transform the global Olympic movement” and “open for us the door to big data analytics.”

The press conference was extremely secretive; attendees at Davos knew Alibaba would be holding the conference, but not what its purpose. “We’ve kept you in the dark for a while,” acknowledged an event organizer who introduced the event.

It is the longest sponsorship deal any Chinese company has signed with the Olympics. “We are making sure this thing will work,” Ma said, adding that the partnership is a “historic moment for Alibaba.”

Bach of the IOC, for his part, called it a “wedding.”

Daniel Roberts is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering sports business and technology. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite

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