Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Alipay Team Up to Install China’s Mobile Payment App in Capital One Arena
Alipay and Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced a collaboration that will bring Alipay’s mobile payment platform to Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The payment solution will be available across the arena’s ticketing, concessions, and team store – offering a seamless experience for the Chinese sports fan visiting the greater Washington, D.C. metro area.
“We are thrilled to team up with our partners at Alibaba to become the first arena in the world to provide fans with access to Alipay,” said Jim Van Stone, president of business operations and chief commercial officer at Monumental Sports & Entertainment. “Not only will it give our fans another way to pay quickly and easily, we will also have the opportunity to better connect with the global audience visiting the arena.”
Together with its global partners, Alipay serves 1 billion users worldwide. In the U.S., the platform connects Chinese consumers with local American merchants, including popular retail, cultural and tourist attractions. A recent report from The Nielsen Company highlights that in 2018, over 60 percent of Chinese tourists made payments with their mobile phones and, on their most recent overseas trips, used mobile for a third of their transactions, overtaking cash for the first time.
The opportunity in D.C.
In 2016, about 3 million Chinese visitors traveled to the U.S., and overall spending by Chinese tourists to the D.C. metro area was nearly $600 million, according to the US Department of Commerce. Research from the Washington Board of Tourism shows Chinese travelers were by far the top overseas visitors to the metro area in 2017 with a total of 302,000 visitors.
“We are proud to integrate Alipay, a lifestyle superapp that serves 1 billion people worldwide with our global partners, at Capital One Arena as the first stadium of its kind. This payment solution will allow Chinese visitors to move seamlessly across the arena, so that they never miss an exciting moment inside the stadium. We are looking forward to future collaboration with Monumental Sports & Entertainment,” said Yulei Wang, general manager, Alipay North America.
Hockey and basketball in China
The Alipay activation comes as Beijing is set to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, ice hockey is gaining popularity in China. Younger generations are now beginning to play at a grassroots level. In 2008, there were around 300 hockey players at the elementary level, a number that has climbed tenfold to roughly 3,000 in just eight years, based on numbers shared by China’s Under-18 national team. With support from the Chinese Ice Hockey Association, major universities in Beijing have introduced teams. While participation in hockey is growing, according to the National Basketball Association (NBA), more than 300 million people in China are playing basketball as the NBA is the country’s most popular sports league.
The integration of Alipay across Capital One Arena follows a sponsorship deal between Alibaba Group and Monumental Sports & Entertainment that kicked off in D.C. last fall with an exhibition game and joint-training camps featuring the Washington Wizards and Chinese Basketball Association club Guangzhou Long-Lions. Capital One Arena is the home of the Wizards, Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Valor (AFL), and the NCAA Georgetown men’s basketball team. The arena boasts an average of 220 events per year and has hosted more than 47 million people since it opened in 1997.