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Airbnb to provide Olympic accommodation in $500 million deal

By Hugh Wilson

Home rental site signs sponsorship and services deal until 2028

Airbnb will provide accommodation for visitors, families of athletes for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year and beyond. The home rental site joins the elite group of worldwide sponsors of the Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Monday that the deal will begin with Tokyo 2020 and cover five summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics until 2028.

IOC President Thomas Bach said he hoped the partnership would lead to more sustainable events “because it will provide accommodation that will reduce the costs for the Olympic Games organisers and all the stakeholders”.

Financial details of the partnership have not been disclosed, though people close to the deal have told the Financial Times that its value is likely to be around $500 million (£386 million, €452 million).

While Airbnb accommodation will not replace the Olympic village for athletes, it is hoped it will reduce the need to build new hotels.

The cost of staging the Games has rocketed in recent years. Rio de Janeiro, the 2016 host city, is still struggling with debts incurred from its brief summer in the Olympic spotlight.

It is the first time Airbnb has entered into a broad sponsorship deal of this kind. With Games in the major Airbnb markets of Tokyo, Beijing, Paris and Los Angeles, executives felt it was too good an opportunity to pass over.

The company hopes the deal will generate hundreds of thousands of new hosts over nine years.

The deal comes as Airbnb prepares for its initial public offering (IPO), pencilled in for next year.

FURTHER READING: Airbnb to ban ‘party houses’ after California Halloween shooting

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