Alibaba Group’s expansion into non-e-commerce businesses such as movies and music took another step today as the group announced the establishment of a sports company, aiming to “transform China’s sports industry through Internet-enabled technologies.”
The company, named Alibaba Sports Group, will be majority owned by Alibaba Group but has backing from Sina Corp., owner of China’s popular microblogging site Sina Weibo, and Yunfeng Capital, a private equity company founded by Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma.Alibaba Adds a Sports Company
Alibaba Sports Group will engage in sports media, events, ticketing and other aspects of the industry, leveraging Alibaba Group’s extensive e-commerce, digital entertainment, marketing, cloud computing and other Internet properties, according to an Alibaba press release.
Alibaba’s Group’s chief executive officer Daniel Zhang was named chairman of Alibaba Sports. Zhang Dazhong, a veteran of China’s new media and sports industry and a former vice president of Shanghai Media Group, will serve as CEO.
“Sports has the enduring ability to create shared happiness and encourage healthy lifestyles,” said Zhang in the release. “Alibaba Sports Group aims to transform the China sports industry through the use of Internet-based technologies to bring greater and better products and services to consumers, sports participants and sports fans alike.”
Alibaba Group’s online shopping site Tmall.com already hosts storefronts for merchandise sold by European football clubs Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Last month, a documentary of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was released through Alibaba’s Tmall Set-top Box. Alibaba also has a stake in China’s leading football club Guangzhou Evergrande.