One year on from the day the deal was signed, the International Olympic Committee and Airbnb have been revealed as the inaugural winners of the Deal of the Year award, part of the Sport Industry Awards 2020.
Honouring the best dealmakers in the industry, the Award was designed to highlight the organisations and individuals that are working to unleash greatness, enable value and demonstrate innovation within the sport industry, something that both the IOC and Airbnb exemplify.
Their deal, announced on 18th November 2020, saw Airbnb join the IOC’s prestigious TOP Partner programme, and the launch of hundreds of Olympian and Paralympian Online Experiences (shown in the video announcement) on Airbnb’s platform, as well as a five-day virtual festival in July following the postponement of Tokyo 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership will span nine years and five Games, and provides direct earning opportunities for athletes, new sustainability opportunities for the IOC around accommodation, and an aligned plan on refugees.
Throughout the process, Sport Industry Awards 2020 Deal of the Year Judges remarked that the deal stood out for its innovation and disruption, solving business solutions as well as providing rich marketing opportunities for both organisations.
“What stood out for this one was this wasn’t just for the individual financial gain for either party,” said Barney Francis, Former Sky Sports Managing Director and Deal of the Year Judge.
“It was a true alignment of goals – and seemed to be a meeting of two organisations with a very forward-thinking view. You would imagine this would stimulate a new wave of innovation in how you’re going to pull two things together.”
Discussing the deal, Vice President of Marketing Development, IOC Television and Marketing Services, Christian Voigt, said: “This has been a deeply integrated partnership discussion from the very first moment. It’s a bit of a new model, versus what you can classically find in the market.
“If you think about it as a 126-year-old organisation partnering with a 12-year-old start up, it couldn’t be more exciting to bring the two worlds together.”
Voigt’s words were echoed by Aoife McArdle, Global Head of Olympics at Airbnb.
“This is not a sponsorship at all, it definitely is a deeply mission-driven and integrated partnership, so very different and very purpose-driven, which I think is the way we’ll see partnerships move in the future.”
2020 marked the first edition of the Deal of the Year category, and discussing the winner’s announcement, Sport Industry Group Chairman Nick Keller said:
“For us at Sport Industry Group, to have two remarkable organisations – in their different ways – winning Deal of the Year is hugely prestigious, and in an industry where deal making is everything this Award is going to become more and more important.”