Pac-12, Alibaba Group Expand Partnership to Bring College Sports to Chinese Audiences

The Pac-12 Conference has extended and expanded partnership with Alibaba Group Holding Limited that includes, for the first time, distribution of Pac-12 Networks content across linear and digital channels by Alibaba through 2024 along with an extension of their sponsorship of the annual Pac-12 China Basketball Game through 2020. The partnership is at the core of Pac-12 Global, an initiative launched in 2011 to expand the reach of its 12 universities through live events and innovative content distribution, and enhance the experience of student-athletes through sporting and cultural exchange.

Alibaba Group has been working with the Pac-12’s international arm, Pac-12 Global, since 2015 to provide student-athletes with unprecedented academic and cultural experiences in China and to sponsor an annual regular season basketball game in Shanghai. This partnership extension will see Alibaba now also distribute 175 live Pac- 12 Networks events annually throughout China on its various platforms, expanding the reach of Pac-12 universities content and brands and further cementing the Pac-12’s global vision of college sports.

“Expanding global fan interest in our conference and member universities through sport, along with providing unique international opportunities for our student-athletes, are at the core of our Pac-12 Global initiative,” says Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference. “In Alibaba we have found the perfect partner to help us achieve these goals. Alibaba’s agreement to distribute Pac-12 college sports content across its channels demonstrates their confidence in the value of our content and brand, and aligned global vision that we have for college sports and the student-athlete experience.”

”Alibaba is thrilled to extend our partnership with the Pac-12 to further realize our goal of bringing the best live sports experience as well as broadcast and streaming content to China. This partnership demonstrates our shared value with the Pac-12, that the pursuit of athletic excellence is an integral part of education,” says Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group. “We believe that Alibaba should be doing as much as we can to enhance the health, mind and well being of young people in China.”

Starting this fall sports season, Alibaba Group will annually distribute 175 live Pac-12 Networks events and 100 hours of original programming throughout Mainland China. Distribution on Alibaba’s platforms, such as Youku Todou – known as “the YouTube of China,” will allow Chinese audiences to access Pac-12 Networks content conveniently.

Sports airing on Alibaba’s platforms will include football, men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, gymnastics, swimming, lacrosse, track & field, and beach volleyball. This will allow the Chinese audience to become familiar with a wide range of American sporting events and the Pac-12’s world-renowned universities, many of which have a significant alumni base in China.

This partnership with Alibaba will provide significant resources to support and expand Pac-12 Global’s central goal of providing Pac-12 student-athletes with sport and educational exchange experiences around the world. As has been the case for the last two years, Alibaba will host the student-athletes participating in the Pac-12 China Game at their headquarters in Hangzhou for meetings with company leadership and an educational symposium on Chinese culture, business, and the future of China’s Internet industry – what past participants describe as an opportunity to understand important growth markets.

The Pac-12 was the first U.S. sports league, professional or collegiate, to host a regular season basketball game in China when the University of Washington defeated the University of Texas in the inaugural Pac-12 China Game in 2015. Last year, Stanford defeated Harvard in front of a packed house in the second annual Pac-12 China Game. The third annual Pac-12 China Game will tip off the Pac-12 men’s basketball season on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 in Shanghai’s Baoshan Sports Center as UCLA takes on Georgia Tech. Tickets for that contest will go on sale next week.

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