Alibaba Group President Michael Evans has insisted here today that the e-commerce giants will strive to make a "huge contribution" to the IOC Agenda 2020 reform process ©Getty Images

Alibaba Group President Michael Evans promised here today that the e-commerce giants will strive to make a "huge contribution" to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Agenda 2020 reform process, having been signed up as a top-tier sponsor earlier this year.

The deal, unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January at a ceremony attended by Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma and IOC President Thomas Bach, is described as "transformative" and one that is seeking to boost the profile of sport across China.

It saw Alibaba join the flagship The Olympic Programme (TOP) and become the official "Cloud Services" and "E-Commerce Platform Services" partner of the IOC.

The deal also marked the first TOP sponsor deal set to last until 2028 and the first long-term partnership signed with a Chinese company after technology company Lenovo briefly served in the role before Beijing 2008.

Alibaba is offering "cloud-computing infrastructure and services, support big-data analytics, e-commerce and digital-media solutions".

It is hoped this will enable the implementation of a global licensing programme, something specified in Recommendation 34 of the IOC's Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement.

Speaking here today about the partnership during the SportAccord Convention, Evans said: "We need to bring our technologies, our platforms and our consumer insights to the IOC and share our experiences with the IOC and make a huge contribution to President Bach's Agenda 2020.

"Because where he has this ambitious vision to go, we actually think he's right and we want to go there too.

"That’s partly because we've been there and we continue to evolve, but then we think that the vision is the right vision of where sport needs to go as a form of content on our platform in the future."

Michael Evans was speaking on day three of the SportAccord Convention ©Getty Images
Michael Evans was speaking on day three of the SportAccord Convention ©Getty Images

Alibaba Group also became a founding partner of the Olympic Channel, which it is aiming to tailor more specifically towards a Chinese audience.

"Our focus through our strategic partnership on the Olympic Channel is to digitally create content which will allow consumers to consume 365 days a year as opposed to around the Olympics or the World Championships or a single sporting event," Evans said.

He also stated that sports federations need to think about creating content.

"Now, content is not just the sporting event, it’s everything that’s around the sporting event because that’s what the consumer also wants to see," Evans added.

"So what does that mean? 

"It means the training, the great things of the sport, the victories, the losses, the cultures, the types of programmes that are available, the youth, the elite; everything that is part of the social engagement that a consumer wants to see."

Through the partnership, Alibaba are seeking to help the IOC transform how "fans engage with the Games year-round and how the largest sporting event in the world works with all stakeholders, from Organising Committees to partners, athletes and fans".

It is possible they will also branch out into other areas, IOC marketing director Timo Lumme said, including ticketing.

Lumme revealed that "more than one company was involved" in the tender process, but that it became apparent that Alibaba was "far and away the partner of choice due to the length and breadth of their commitment".

The group's chief marketing officer Chris Tung claimed that they were keen to work with the IOC "not just" because Beijing are hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, although this does offer an "extra incentive". 

It also provides a major opportunity for the Hangzhou-based company to boost their profile across the world.