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Alibaba secures Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ticketing contract

Alibaba secures Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ticketing contract
July 19, 2019

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the local organising committee of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics have appointed Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba as the Games’ ticketing systems and services provider.

Announced yesterday, the appointment marks the IOC’s move towards a centralised approach to marketing tickets for the Olympic Games, with the IOC stating that Alibaba has been chosen with the objective of securing a single provider to deliver ticketing services and operations over several Games editions.

The IOC hopes the move will reduce costs and the complexity of hosting the Games in line with Olympic Agenda 2020’s recommendations on efficient turnkey solutions.

The Olympic Games currently operates under a system through which the local organising committee bears responsibility for the sale and distribution of tickets, including appointing authorised resellers for specific countries and territories.

However, the Games have been plagued with high-profile ticketing scandals in the past, most recently at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In December 2015, the IOC opened up the possibility of a change in ticketing strategy for Tokyo 2020 by launching an Invitation for Expression of Interest (IEI) process to secure a central supplier.

Under the Agenda 2020 reform initiative, which provides for the potential of adopting turnkey solutions for certain operations, the IOC requested contact from companies interested in further information regarding the provision of ticketing systems and services to support Tokyo 2020, along with Beijing 2022 and the 2024 summer Games, which will take place in Paris.

Ultimately this plan failed to be enacted in time for Tokyo 2020, which is currently engaged in the process of selling tickets for next year’s event. However, today’s news appears to have progressed the IOC’s plans.

In January 2017, Alibaba agreed a long-term deal to become a top-tier partner of the IOC. The IOC today said that the Beijing 2022 ticketing programme will harness Alibaba’s technological and data expertise, ensuring a fully digitally enabled ticketing programme and modern user experience that allows fans to purchase and redistribute tickets securely. Beijing 2022 will be responsible for the overall planning and delivery of the ticketing program.

In addition to existing work with the IOC on the development of its digital strategy and ecosystem, the IOC said Alibaba’s expertise in engaging Chinese consumers and ownership of Damai, one of China’s largest ticketing platforms, makes it perfectly positioned to take on the Beijing 2022 contract.

Timo Lumme, Managing Director of IOC Television and Marketing Services, said: “The ticketing solutions provided will drive further innovation at the Olympic Games, enhance the spectator experience and reduce costs for organisers, delivering on the commitments made by Olympic Agenda 2020.”

Chris Tung, Alibaba’s Chief Marketing Officer, added “we look forward to leveraging our technology to help provide streamlined, digitally-enabled ticket sales services to create a seamless ticketing experience for fans around the world.”

The 2008 Beijing Olympics were ticketed by Ticketmaster as part of a move by the ticketing giant to expand in China.

However, the US-based ticketing agent exited the market in 2010 after a series of high profile setbacks.

Lower image shows the planned indoor arena for Games ice events.

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25th June 2019 - IOC satisfied with preparations for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

22nd May 2019 - Beijing confirmed as host for SportAccord 2020

14th March 2019 - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics works move forward

7th August 2018 - Tokyo Olympics organisers confirm use of facial recognition technology for 2020 Games

21st January 2017 - IOC and Alibaba Group launch historic long-term partnership

23rd September 2016 - IOC President proclaims ‘time of Asia’ as Sports Ministers sign declaration in Pyeongchang

11th August 2016 - Beijing to reuse 2008 Olympic venues for 2022 Winter Games

29th July 2016 - Populous backs Alibaba plan to increase sport participation in China

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13th April 2010 - Ticketmaster Completes China Exit

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