Airbnb agrees $500m Olympics sponsorship deal ahead of IPO

Accommodation platform joins Coca-Cola, Alibaba and Toyota on corporate list

Airbnb executives decided the Olympics offers rare reach for a company that operates in the majority of countries and big cities across the world.

Airbnb executives decided the Olympics offers rare reach for a company that operates in the majority of countries and big cities across the world.

 

Airbnb has signed a $500 million (€453m) deal to sponsor the Olympic Games until 2028, as the accommodation-booking platform targets the world’s biggest sporting event.

On Monday the San Francisco-based company announced it had joined an elite corporate list that includes Coca-Cola, Alibaba and Toyota as part of the “worldwide sponsorship programme” for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the governing body of the games.

The deal covers the next five Olympics starting with next year’s in Tokyo, and including the subsequent winter and summer games in Beijing, Paris, Milan and Los Angeles. The five cities are among Airbnb’s biggest markets for private accommodation rentals worldwide.

Sources valued the deal at about $500 million, which includes a substantial payment to the IOC but takes into account the cost of services that Airbnb will provide such as free accommodation to athletes and executives.

The contract is in line with other recent sponsorships of the IOC, such as with Bridgestone and Panasonic, which have paid between $200 million and $250 million over a four-year Olympic cycle.

According to the IOC, its top 12 sponsors provided revenues of a little more than $1 billion (€900m) for the 2014 winter games in Sochi and 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro.

It is the first time Airbnb has signed a large sponsorship deal. The group has previously turned away approaches for broad marketing initiatives, such as working alongside airlines to create package holidays, a person familiar with the company’s thinking said.

Big cities

However, Airbnb executives decided the Olympics offers rare reach for a company that operates in the majority of countries and big cities across the world.

The move is designed to promote Airbnb’s brand to new hosts and customers as it prepares an initial public offering (IPO) planned for next year. The company, which was founded in 2008, has about $3.5 billion of cash, providing the financial firepower for the Olympics deal, a person familiar with the matter said.

Last month investors trying to buy indirect stakes in the Airbnb in private markets valued the group at up to $42 billion (€38bn). The US company said it had revenues of more than $1 billion in the second quarter of this year. It generated profits, before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation expenses, in 2017 and 2018. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019