Alibaba Group and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday unveiled a new logo that will serve as official branding for the more than decade-long partnership they announced earlier this year.
In January, the Chinese technology giant said it had signed on to sponsor the Olympic Games through 2028, in addition to becoming the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” Partner of the IOC and a Founding Partner of the Olympic Channel.
During the unveiling ceremony at Alibaba’s Hangzhou headquarters, Executive Chairman Jack Ma said the company’s goals of supporting young people, while promoting happiness and health, were in line with those of the IOC, which aims to accomplish the same things through sport.
“So in working with the IOC, we have the honor to use technology to upgrade the Olympics to the digital Olympics, to spread and to promote the Olympic spirit,” Ma said.
Under the sponsorship agreement, Alibaba will offer cloud-computing infrastructure and services, support data analytics, e-commerce and digital-media solutions for the IOC. The two parties see the partnership as a way to ensure a more-efficient and secure staging of the Olympic Games. In addition, they want to expand the IOC’s opportunities to connect with fans seeking official Olympic-licensed products and developing and customizing the Olympic Channel for a Chinese audience.
The IOC said it had evolved to embrace an increasingly digital world, and that Alibaba would leverage its technology and know-how to help the IOC achieve a variety of key objectives outlined in its Olympic Agenda 2020.
“The vision is…to reach more people, to better reach the younger generation and make the organizing of the Games more efficient, faster and adapted to the needs of our times, and we hope, for the future times,” said IOC President Thomas Bach at Friday’s event.
By partnering with Alibaba, “we can lead together the Olympic Games and Olympic Movement into the digital age,” he said.
Alibaba is the first company to make a commitment to the IOC through 2028 and the first Chinese company to commit to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
During a live-streamed dialogue, which aired on Facebook and drew more than 1 million viewers on Chinese online video hub Youku.com, Ma pointed to the importance of keeping the Games current with the changing demographics of Olympics fans, as well as trends in consumer engagement. That means bringing the Olympics into the age of the internet, where the mobile phone is the most ubiquitous point of contact with viewers—especially young people.
“This is not only a big sponsorship, we want to have millions of people get involved,” Ma said.
Alibaba’s involvement with the Olympics started at last year’s Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. The e-commerce company’s B2C shopping site, Tmall, struck alliances with streaming-video site Youku Tudou and micro-blogging site Sina Weibo, which are also owned by Alibaba, search giant Baidu and digital sports media outlet Sina Sports to bolster customer interaction through Olympics-related digital advertising and marketing campaigns.
Youku Tudou garnered a total of 7.5 billion streams by the completion of the Games.