MANCHESTER, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Manchester United (NYSE: MANU) – one of the most popular and successful sports teams in the world - today announced a new partnership with Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA and HKEX: 9988) that will bring exclusive rights to club content in China to Alibaba’s ecosystem for the first time, further extending the club’s engagement with its massive Chinese fanbase.
The partnership will see Manchester United content presented and localised on multiple Alibaba platforms, giving fans access to in-depth club content. This will include select first-team matches, highlights and localised original productions, all available to approximately 700 million consumers across Alibaba’s platforms and promoted through different channels, including a first-of-its-kind, dedicated Manchester United channel on Alibaba’s video-streaming platform, Youku.
The new Manchester United Youku channel, which will be linked prominently from the Youku Sport portal, will feature Academy, Women’s and first team tour games, plus first team games shown on-demand and global and China-specific content. Manchester United had already broadcast three games from their pre-season tour on the Youku homepage.
The partnership will also involve collaborating to establish a future Manchester United flagship store on Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C Marketplace, which will become the official online marketplace store selling Manchester United merchandise to Chinese consumers. It will be linked from the Youku channel, creating a seamless content and ecommerce experience. Manchester United and Alibaba will also provide business partners with robust marketing solutions to promote their products and brands across Alibaba’s platforms.
Manchester United Group Managing Director, Richard Arnold comments:
“We are proud of our passionate and loyal following around the world and our Chinese fans are a huge part of that. We are always looking for new ways to engage with fans there and this partnership with Alibaba enables them to connect with the club directly through one of China’s most popular video streaming platforms. We look forward to working with Alibaba to further grow our fan base in China and building on other areas of the partnership in the near future.”
Michael Evans, President, Alibaba Group said: “Manchester United is one of the most popular and successful football teams in the world, with a sizable and passionate fan base in China. We share the same goal, which is to provide fans with one-of-a-kind online content consumption and shopping that leverages the latest technology. With this cooperation we are leveraging Alibaba’s ecosystem to bring a unique Manchester United experience closer to fans and consumers in China. I look forward to developing other areas of strategic business cooperation in the future.”
This rich content offering is the latest collaboration between premier European football clubs and Alibaba.
About Manchester United
Manchester United is one of the most popular and successful sports teams in the world, playing one of the most popular spectator sports on Earth. Through our 141-year heritage we have won 66 trophies, enabling us to develop the world’s leading sports brand and a global community of 1.1 billion fans and followers. Our large, passionate community provides Manchester United with a worldwide platform to generate significant revenue from multiple sources, including sponsorship, merchandising, product licensing, new media & mobile, broadcasting and match day.
About Alibaba Group
Alibaba Group’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.