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Airbnb teams up with the IOC to provide Games accommodation

Short-term home rental company Airbnb Inc has joined the ranks of leading sponsors of the Olympic Games with a nine year deal to help provide accommodation for the world’s biggest sporting event and cut the cost for host cities. 

Airbnb said on Monday (November 18) the partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would run from the Tokyo games next year until 2028 and cover five Olympics and Paralympics events. Financial details were not disclosed. 

That period will include the summer Games in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028, as well as the winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022 and one centred on Milan four years later.

The move, which sees Airbnb joining other major sponsors including Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Samsung, Alibaba, Visa and Toyota, highlights the company’s rapid growth to become one of the major players in room rental. 

It is currently revamping policies to improve trust after a mass shooting at a property in California last month.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the partnership would not replace the traditional Olympic village where athletes stay but would be based on a guarantee of accommodation for visitors, families of athletes, and officials.

The IOC requires candidate cities to guarantee 40,000 rooms, and Bach said it would help host cities save and make the games more feasible and sustainable.

The likes of Paris and Los Angeles already have plenty of hotels and well-developed Airbnb host communities already. 

But the IOC hopes the agreement will help local residents to enjoy more of the benefits of hosting Olympics and reduce the resistance that has seen a number of cities pull out of the bidding process for Games in recent years.

Locals staged protests at the last summer games in Rio de Janeiro because of the cost of hosting the event when Brazil was mired in recession.

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said he hoped the partnership would help leave a “positive legacy for athletes and host communities,” as well as give benefits for the company, such as integrated booking of accommodation with online ticket purchases. 

(Production: Andy Ragg)

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