Alibaba Launches Sports Unit With Sina, Yunfeng Capital

Alibaba Group Holding Limited has teamed up with Sina Corporation and Yunfeng Capital to establish Alibaba Sports Group, which will launch new businesses in sports copyrights, sports media, events, and ticketing.

According to a company announcement, Alibaba Sports Group will be majority-owned by Alibaba Group. Yunfeng Capital is co-founded by Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and chairman.

Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group’s chief executive officer, will serve as chairman of Alibaba Sports Group.

Zhang Dazhong, the former vice president of Shanghai Media Group, will serve as Alibaba Sports Group’s chief executive officer.

The announcement came shortly after Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group agreed in August to acquire the World Triathlon Corp from U.S. private equity firm Providence Equity Corp for around US$900 million.

Earlier this year, Wanda acquired 20% of Spanish football organizer Club Atlético de Madrid for €45 million (US$52 million), and sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media for €1.05 billion.

Alibaba Sports Group aims to leverage Alibaba Group’s vast e-commerce ecosystem, Sina’s media resources and Mr. Zhang Dazhong’s deep experience with China’s new media and sports sectors, says the statement.

"Sports has the enduring ability to create shared happiness and encourage healthy lifestyles,” said Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group.

Alibaba Sports Group will integrate e-commerce, media, marketing, video, home entertainment, cloud computing and other Internet-enabled technologies.

Alibaba Group’s founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma, has said that health and happiness are two strategic areas Alibaba Group plans to invest in for future growth and sports stands at the intersection of these two themes.

Over the past six months, the world’s top football clubs Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and other sports companies have entered into partnerships with Alibaba to retail their products and services on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms.

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