UEFA has enhanced its partnership with online payment platform Alipay, claiming that its venture to reinvent the fan engagement experience and build closer ties to Chinese football supporters represents a first for an international sports organisation.
The partnership comprises a UEFA lifestyle account that offers insights into European national team competitions, as well as a mini-programme where Chinese fans can apply for tickets in a simplified way to Euro 2020, the national team tournament that is being hosted across 12 European countries. Both features are accessible within the Alipay app.
The lifestyle account will act as a content hub for Chinese fans of national team football in Europe. Visitors to the platform will have the chance to read about all the latest developments in UEFA’s national team competitions, as well being able to view exclusive content.
To complement Chinese fans’ digital experiences, the mini-programme will be linked to UEFA’s Euro 2020 ticketing platform. This will allow Chinese fans to start applying for tickets for the competition in their own language.
“There is a real appetite amongst Chinese football fans for UEFA’s national team competitions, where they have the chance to see some of the best players on the planet in action,” said UEFA’s Director of Marketing, Guy-Laurent Epstein. “We want to be in a position to give our fans premium content in their own language and our new partnerships with Alipay allow us to do exactly this.”
The digital fan engagement solutions build on the existing partnership between UEFA and Alipay. In November 2018, the Chinese payment platform signed an unprecedented eight-year deal to become UEFA’s Official Global Payment Partner, Official Global Digital Wallet and Official Global FinTech Partner, for men’s national team events through to 2026.
Sabrina Peng, Chief Marketing Officer at Alipay’s parent company, Ant Financial, said: “Alipay has accumulated vast experience in using mini-programmes as a powerful tool to enable businesses in China and around the world. It is exciting to see the application being extended to football. We look forward to deepening the integration between football and technology in our partnership with UEFA in the next few years.”
There are more than 230 million active users accessing Alipay mini-programmes daily for a variety of services ranging from finance and education to medical and transportation. Over the next 12 months, UEFA will roll out a number of digital activations and promotions on Alipay.