• Chinese Manchester United fans to have exclusive access to club content with Alibaba
  • Manchester United and Alibaba Group agree future collaboration on e-commerce platform Tmall
  • Alibaba: Leveraging the latest technology to provide fans with one-of-a-kind online content

Youku-Social Man U on YouKU

Youku-Social Man U on YouKU

Premier League football club Manchester United have announced a new partnership with Alibaba Group to bring the exclusive rights to the club’s content to China.

The deal was inked in a move to extend the English football club’s engagement with its “massive Chinese fanbase.”

Alibaba will provide club content to fans in China on multiple platforms including launching a dedicated Man U channel on online video service Youku, as well as develop a future club store on the company’s business-to-consumer platform Tmall.com.

In a statement, the club confirmed coverage will include select first team matches, highlights and localised original productions which will be available to over 700 million consumers across Alibaba’s platforms.

Alibaba Group president Michael Evans said: “Manchester United is one of the most popular and successful football teams in the world, with a sizable and passionate fan base in China. We share the same goal, which is to provide fans with one-of-a-kind online content consumption and shopping that leverages the latest technology.

“With this cooperation we are leveraging Alibaba’s ecosystem to bring a unique Manchester United experience closer to fans and consumers in China. I look forward to developing other areas of strategic business cooperation in the future.”

The new Manchester United Youku channel will be linked to Youku’s Sport portal which will the club said will feature “Academy, women’s and first team tour games and first team games shown on-demand with global and Chinese-specific content.”

Manchester United has already broadcast three games from their pre-season tour on the Youku homepage, while Amazon has successfully kicked off its live coverage of the Premier League.

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Manchester United group managing director Richard Arnold said: “We are proud of our passionate and loyal following around the world and our Chinese fans are a huge part of that.

“We are always looking for new ways to engage with fans there and this partnership with Alibaba enables them to connect with the club directly through one of China’s most popular video streaming platforms.

“We look forward to working with Alibaba to further grow our fan base in China and building on other areas of the partnership in the near future.”

Alibaba’s Tmall will become the official online marketplace store selling Manchester United merchandise to Chinese consumers and it will be linked from the Youku channel, creating a seamless content and ecommerce experience.

Manchester United and Alibaba will also provide business partners with marketing solutions to promote their products and brands across Alibaba’s platforms.

Last month United opened an ‘Experience Preview Centre’ in Beijing, offering a sample of the full-scale venue they intend to open in 2020, with plans to replicate across the country.

The centre provides a full-scale replica of Old Trafford’s Trinity Statue, an interactive showcase of the club’s most historic moments and triumphs, a replica of the players’ tunnel and changing rooms and houses the first official Manchester United Megastore in mainland China.

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