Airbnb joins IOC to provide Olympic Games accommodation

Short-term home rental company Airbnb Inc has joined the ranks of top Olympic sponsors with a nine-year lease to help provide accommodations for the world's largest sporting event and reduce the cost to host cities.

Airbnb said on Monday that the partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will run from next year's Tokyo games to 2028 and will cover five Olympics and Paralympics events. Financial details were not disclosed.

This period will include the Paris Summer Games at 2024 and Los Angeles at 2028, as well as the Beijing Winter Olympics at 2022 and one centered in Milan four years later.

The move, which leads Airbnb to join other major sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Samsung, Alibaba, Visa and Toyota, underscores the company's rapid growth to become one of the leading room rental competitors.

The company is currently overhauling policies to improve confidence following a mass shooting on a California property last month.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the partnership will not replace the traditional Olympic village where athletes stay, but will be based on a guarantee of accommodation for visitors, athletes' families and officials.

The IOC requires candidate cities to secure 40.000 rooms, and Bach said it would help host cities save money and make games more viable and sustainable.

“These cities can now tap into the potential of Airbnb and need not promise to build new hotels or accommodations. They can refer to the number of hosts that Airbnb is offering, ”he told Reuters.

Paris and Los Angeles already have many well-developed Airbnb hotels and host communities.

But the IOC hopes that the deal will help local residents get more out of the benefits of hosting the Olympics and reduce the resistance that has seen several cities give up on the Games bidding process in recent years.

Locals protested at the last summer games in Rio de Janeiro over the cost of hosting the event when Brazil was in recession.

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said he hopes the partnership will help leave a “positive legacy for athletes and host communities,” as well as providing benefits to the company, such as integrated accommodation booking through online ticket purchases.

Source: Reuters

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