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Airbnb signs Worldwide Olympic Partner deal in new category

A logo is displayed on a fence in Tokyo (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The global accommodation marketplace Airbnb has signed as a global partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until 2028.

Under the deal, the brand becomes a Worldwide Olympic Partner in the exclusive category of ‘Unique Accommodation Products and Unique Experiences Services’.

According to the Financial Times newspaper, the deal with Airbnb is worth $500m (€452m) over the nine-year term. This covers three Summer and two Winter Olympic Games in five major cities: Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022, Paris 2024, Milan-Cortina 2026 and Los Angeles 2028.

It is reported that, along with a significant rights fee, the $500m total takes into account the cost of services that Airbnb will provide, including free accommodation for athletes and executives.

The IOC said the partnership will generate hundreds of thousands of new Olympic ‘hosts’ over the period, giving host city residents the opportunity to earn money by providing accommodation to visiting fans, athletes and other members of the Olympic Movement.

The IOC and Airbnb will also launch ‘Airbnb Olympian Experiences’ to provide direct earning opportunities for athletes.

From early 2020, this new category will include everything from the chance to train with an Olympian to exploring a city with an elite athlete. In the coming months, Airbnb and the IOC, through the Athlete 365 platform, will provide support and training to athletes interested in becoming a host on the Airbnb Experiences platform.

In addition, the IOC will make at least $28m worth of Airbnb accommodation available over the course of the partnership to athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games for competition and training related travel.

Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, said the agreement will support the sustainability objectives of the Olympic Movement and benefit athletes.

“This innovative partnership underpins our strategy to ensure that the efficient staging of the Olympic Games is sustainable and leaves a legacy for the host community,” he said.

“With Airbnb’s support, we will also develop new opportunities for athletes around the world to develop their own direct revenue streams through the promotion of physical activity and the Olympic values.

“From this partnership there will also be direct benefit for athletes beyond the $5bn the IOC is distributing during this Olympiad for their benefit to Organising Committees and sports organisation around the world.”

Joe Gebbia, Airbnb co-founder, said of the deal: “Airbnb and the IOC have a strong track record in creating and accommodating the world’s greatest events. Our Olympic partnership will ensure that the Games are the most inclusive, accessible and sustainable yet, and leave a lasting positive legacy for athletes and host communities.”

Under the new deal, Airbnb will work with the IOC in continuing to address the challenges faced by refugees around the world. The IOC set up a Refugee Olympic Team for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, and created the Olympic Refuge Foundation in 2017.

Airbnb has been supporting refugee initiatives since 2015 through its Open Homes’ programme. Over the course of the partnership, the IOC and Airbnb will establish further programmes to provide long-term support to refugees.

Airbnb has previously supported the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 and the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang 2018 as a domestic sponsor, as well as other major sporting events.