Alibaba has just gone Olympic. At January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Alibaba Group announced the formation of a long-term partnership that will last through 2028. As part of the new collaboration, Alibaba has become the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” partner of the Olympics, as well as a Founding Partner of the Olympic Channel. And now, we have a bit more insight into what the company’s sponsorship looks like.
This weekend, Alibaba announced a project to create an athletes’ village that is “smarter” and more connected, all while making Olympic stakeholders “more money,” according to executives. While this and other similar projects are still in concept phases, IOC president Thomas Bach noted that a number of Alibaba’s plans “can become operational pretty soon.” Unfortunately, “pretty soon” probably means the next Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.
One of the major innovations will be the “sports brain,” a suite of software that is meant to improve how sporting events are run from behind the scenes. Alibaba claims that it “enables various stakeholders to leverage cloud technologies to deliver the future of sports events in a secure, stable, and cost-effective manner and to provide fans with a convenient and engaging experience.” In the meantime, the company promises to provide the current Olympics with the necessary computing infrastructure and cloud services to help digitize operations and become more effective and secure for fans and athletes alike.