Press release

UEFA Reinvents Digital Fan Engagement in China Through Alipay

Sponsored by Businesswire

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 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

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.

About UEFA

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.

About Alipay

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
Further read
on Alipay mini programs.