UEFA and Chinese payment platform giant Alipay have agreed a new eight-year deal to become UEFA men's national team football sponsor from 2018 to 2026, including UEFA EURO 2020 and 2024 and the UEFA Nations League finals.
The news comes as Jack Ma’s leading B2B marketplace, Alibaba, hit a record $30.8 billion in sales during China’s ‘Singles Day’ yesterday with Alipay being widely used for many of the transactions.
The UEFA deal further demonstrates the Chinese firm’s commitment to global sport, following last year’s Olympic sponsorship.
The agreement will see Alipay, which is operated by Ant Financial Services Group, become UEFA's official global payment partner for national team tournaments. Alipay will also become UEFA's official global digital wallet provider and the organisation's official global FinTech partner.
UEFA will work with Alipay to provide a digital experience for football fans who will follow their teams during UEFA EURO 2020 across 12 countries as well as in Germany for UEFA EURO 2024. Alipay and Ant Financial aim to bring digital innovation to football fans, enhance their onsite experience and deliver seamless payment and other services to fans in Europe and throughout the world.
Speaking at unveiling of the partnership in Shanghai, UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said: "We are proud to announce this unique and groundbreaking partnership with Ant Financial and Alipay for UEFA's national team competitions."
"Alipay is at the forefront of digital payments and in association with its global partners, Alipay has unique connections with over 900 million users.
“We believe the partnership will further innovate the way in which UEFA engages with football fans around the world."
Eric Jing, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Ant Financial added: “We are thrilled to work with UEFA to bridge the world through the common language of football.
“We will empower UEFA to engage with football fans around the world through digital platforms and help UEFA reach and interact with billions of potential audience in Asia.
"By partnering with UEFA, we hope to share the passion and happiness of football with more people across the world and bring them the benefits of digital life."
Alipay, becomes UEFA's third national team sponsor, which will feature at UEFA EURO 2020, after Volkswagen and Booking.com signed deals until 2022.