UEFA has announced a new partnership with Alipay, aiming to reinvent fan engagement experiences and bring Chinese fans closer to European national team football.

The partnership comprises a UEFA lifestyle account that offers deeper insights into European national team competitions, as well as a mini-programme where Chinese fans can apply for tickets in a simplified way to the EURO 2020 tournament.

Chinese fans will have the opportunity to apply for UEFA EURO 2020 tickets through the collaboration, which is a first of its kind for an international sports organisation. The lifestyle account will act as a content hub for Chinese fans of national team football in Europe. Visitors to the platform will have the chance to read about all the latest developments in UEFA’s National Team competitions, as well being able to view exclusive content.

UEFA’s director of marketing Guy-Laurent Epstein commented: “There is a real appetite amongst Chinese football fans for UEFA’s national team competitions, where they have the chance to see some of the best players on the planet in action.

“We want to be in a position to give our fans premium content in their own language and our new partnerships with Alipay allow us to do exactly this.”

To complement the digital experience of Chinese fans, the mini-programme will be linked to UEFA’s EURO 2020 ticketing platform. This will allow Chinese fans to start applying for tickets for the competition from 13 June in their own language.

The digital fan engagement solutions build on the existing partnership between UEFA and Alipay. In November 2018, the Chinese payment platform signed an unprecedented eight-year deal to become UEFA’s Official Global Payment Partner, Official Global Digital Wallet and Official Global FinTech Partner, for men’s national team events till 2026.

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin with Jack Ma, the CEO of the Alibaba Group UEFA.com added on the linkup: “We feel extremely delighted to be able to provide an innovative and inclusive solution in digital fan engagement, providing Chinese fans with more native experiences,” said Sabrina Peng, chief marketing officer at Ant Financial.

“Alipay has accumulated vast experiences in using mini-programmes as a powerful tool to enable businesses in China and around the world. It is exciting to see the application being extended to football. We look forward to deepening the integration between football and technology in our partnership with UEFA in the next few years.”

Over the next 12 months, UEFA will roll out a number of engaging and interactive digital activations and promotions on Alipay, which will bring Chinese fans closer to top European national team football than ever before.