UEFA has set up a new digital platform on Alipay to provide Chinese football fans with ticketing options and a lifestyle platform for European football, kicking off with Euro 2020.

The partnership with the China-based third-party mobile and online payments company is focused on fan engagement and providing a ticket sales platform for Chinese fans of European national team football.

The new platform will include a UEFA lifestyle account that offers insight into competitions, as well as a ticketing mini-programme where Chinese fans can access Euro 2020 inventory. Both features can be found on the Alipay app, which claims to have one billion users.

UEFA’s director of marketing Guy-Laurent Epstein, said: “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.”

Mini-programmes are light-apps that can be launched instantly on a main app interface, instead of having to be downloaded separately as native apps. They offer users faster access to various services as they can run from within the main app on any mobile operating system. There are more than 230 million active users accessing Alipay mini-programmes daily.

The mini-programme will be linked to UEFA’s Euro 2020 ticketing platform, allowing Chinese fans to start applying for tickets for the competition from June 13 in their own language.

Visitors to the lifestyle platform will be able to read about all the latest developments in UEFA’s National Team competitions, as well being able to view exclusive content.

The digital fan engagement solutions build on an existing partnership between the two organisations, which launched in 2018. The eight-year deal named Alipay as UEFA’s global payment partner, digital wallet and FinTech partner for men’s national team events until 2026.

Sabrina Peng, chief marketing officer at Ant Financial, said: “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.

“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.”

Image: UEFA