UEFA has announced a new exciting partnership with Alipay, the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform, which is aimed at reinventing fan engagement experiences and bringing Chinese fans of European national team football even closer to the action than ever before.
The partnership comprises a UEFA lifestyle account that offers unparalleled insights into European national team competitions, as well as a mini-program where Chinese fans can apply for tickets in a simplified way to the upcoming EURO 2020. Both features are accessible within the Alipay app, the world’s most-used mobile app outside social apps. 1
The collaboration is the first of its kind for an international sports organization. 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 UEFA EURO 2020 ticketing mini-program - the first time that UEFA allows a digital ticketing channel outside UEFA.com worldwide - will be launched on the same day. Chinese fans can start applying for tickets from June 13.
“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 till 2026.
“We feel extremely delighted to be able to provide an innovative and inclusive solution in digital fan engagement, providing Chinese fans with more native experiences,” said Sabrina Peng, Chief Marketing Officer at Ant Financial. “Alipay has accumulated vast experiences in using mini-programs 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.”
Mini programs2 are light-apps that can be launched instantly on a main app interface, instead of having to be downloaded separately as native apps. They offer users faster access to various services as they can run from within the main app on any mobile operating system. There are more than 230 million active users accessing Alipay mini-programs 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 engaging and interactive digital activations and promotions on Alipay, which will bring Chinese and Asian fans closer to top European national team football than ever before.
UEFA – the Union of European Football Associations – is the governing body of European football. It is an association of associations, a representative democracy, and is the umbrella organisation for 55 national football associations across Europe. Its objectives are, among other things, to deal with all questions relating to European football, to promote football in a spirit of unity, solidarity, peace, understanding and fair play, without any discrimination on the part of politics, race, religion, gender or any other reason, to safeguard the values of European football, promote and protect ethical standards and good governance in European football, maintain relations with all stakeholders involved in European football, and support and safeguard its member associations for the overall well-being of the European game.
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world’s leading payment and lifestyle platform. Launched in 2004, Alipay currently serves over 1 billion users with its local e-wallets partners. Over the years, Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors, or purchase wealth management products directly from within the app. In addition to online payments, Alipay is expanding to in-store offline payments both inside and outside of China. Alipay’s in-store payment service covers over 50 countries and regions across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 35 countries and regions. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese travelling overseas and overseas customers who purchase products from Chinese e-commerce sites. Alipay currently supports 27 currencies.
1 Source: The State of Mobile 2019, by App Annie
2 Further read on Alipay mini programs.