(Yicai Global) June 11 -- Winning the exclusive rights to broadcast the 2018 World Cup in China is just one part of Alibaba Group Holding's long-term plans for sports content, according to the head of its video broadcasting unit.
"The reason for us bidding on the World Cup rights is not just because we want the intellectual property," Youku President Yang Weidong told Yicai Global yesterday, saying it was by no means a spur-of-the-moment decision. "We have long-term plans based on sports content, and will release other related plans in July," he added.
Beijing-based Youku has not disclosed how much it paid state-owned broadcaster CCTV for the distribution license, but Yang said the firm was not the highest bidder. The platform, as well as others run by Alibaba rivals Baidu and Tencent Holdings, has been focusing on obtaining original and exclusive content as of late.
After the event, Youku will look to retain the influx of new users by generating more soccer-related content, and using famous players and teams to keep users interested, Yang added. The platform will also push its existing content, mostly movies and television series, to engage with new members, he said.
Youku will also partner Alibaba-affiliated e-commerce outlets in a bid to shift more product during the tournament, such as jerseys, t-shirts, footwear, beer and snacks, added Zhu Yue, executive director of China Insights Consultancy. Its online stores, meal delivery platform and travel service providers have already developed services specifically for the tournament.
Editor: James Boynton