Alibaba commits to developing rugby in China

The e-commerce and entertainment announced a ten-year deal with World Rugby, the world governing body for the sport.

The Alisports, the division of the e-commerce and entertainment giant Alibaba, reached an agreement with World Rugby, the institution governing international rugby, to exclusively broadcast content and programming of the organism to its millions of online users.

The agreement aims to "aims to create value for sports industry participants and enhance consumers and sports fans engagement with sports teams and brands", said both parties in a joint statement.

World Rugby organizes major international sport tournaments, including World Cup, the Sevens World Series and the Women’s Sevens Series.

As reported by the parties, the agreement commits Alisports to support World Rugby and the local federation (the Chinese Rugby Football Association) to reach a critical mass of participants in the sport, through educational and training programs, whose aim will be to have 1 million participants in China at the end of the 10-year contract. To keep in mind: there are 7.7 million rugby players worldwide.

This agreement comes on the heels of similar deals inked by NBA and ESPN with Tencent, MLB Le Eco and FIFA with Wanda, all designed to boost their respective sports in the world's most populous country.

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