Airbnb and The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a nine-year, five-Games partnership. Airbnb becomes the Worldwide Olympic Partner in the exclusive category of “Unique Accommodation Products and Unique Experiences Services.” 

This global sponsorship deal is reportedly worth $500 million and will last until 2028. In addition to paying the IOC, Airbnb will provide free accommodations worth at least $28 million to athletes competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games for competition and training-related travel.

The deal covers the next five Olympic Games, to be held in Tokyo, Beijing, Paris, Milan and Los Angeles — these are some of Airbnb’s largest markets. Joe Gebbia, Airbnb’s co-founder tells FT that the company plans to “vastly increase” the number of hosts in the five Olympic cities, from the current 200,000. It can now officially market to host cities and potential hosts.

Airbnb is also looking to boost its Experiences business through the launch of Airbnb Olympian Experiences. These offerings will range from the chance to train with an Olympian to exploring a city with an elite athlete, among other experiences, and provide athletes with direct earning opportunities. Airbnb and the IOC will provide support and training to athletes interested in becoming Airbnb Experiences hosts through its Athlete 365 platform in the coming months.

Kirsty Coventry, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, said in a release:  “I am delighted that our new global agreement with Airbnb will benefit the athletes directly. This includes direct revenue opportunities from sharing their passion for the sport through new Airbnb Olympian Experiences, as well as direct support for their accommodation needs.”

This is Airbnb’s largest sponsorship deal to date and counts as a win for both parties. Airbnb gets unprecedented reach to promote its brand to new hosts and customers globally ahead of its impending public listing next year. The IOC gets to provide the Olympics host cities with “a more environmentally sustainable way of accommodating a surge in visitors,” an alternative to the high costs of adding new hotels.

In making the case for the partnership’s contribution to sustainability and the economic benefit of impacted communities, Airbnb noted a World Economic Forum study which found:

during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the added capacity provided through Airbnb’s platform provided the equivalent of 257 hotels for guests of the Games, saving the city in terms of materials use and carbon emissions, while also providing around USD 30 million in direct revenue for hosts and generating an estimated total economic activity of USD 100 million in three weeks.

photo credit: airbnb and ioc

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