Alipay, the world's leading digital payment platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, and Monumental Sports & Entertainment, today 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," Jim Van Stone, president of business operations and chief commercial officer at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, said. "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.
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, Alipay is the world's leading payment and lifestyle platform. Launched in 2004, Alipay currently works with over 200 domestic financial institution partners. Over the years, Alipay has evolved from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler. Users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors, or purchase wealth management products directly from within the app. In addition to online payments, Alipay is expanding to in-store offline payments both inside and outside of China. Alipay's in-store payment service covers 54 countries and regions across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 29 countries and regions. Alipay works with over 250 overseas financial institutions and payment solution providers to enable cross-border payments for Chinese travelling overseas and overseas customers who purchase products from Chinese e-commerce sites. Alipay currently supports 27 currencies.
About Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), located in Washington, D.C., is one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports. MSE owns and operates seven professional sports teams: the 2018 Arena Football League champion Washington Valor, AFL's Baltimore Brigade, NBA's Washington Wizards, NBA G League's Capital City Go-Go, NBA 2K League's Wizards District Gaming, the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals and the WNBA's Washington Mystics. The company is also co-owner of aXiomatic, which has controlling interest in global esports franchise Team Liquid, and owns and operates Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment also manages MedStar Capitals Iceplex, the state-of-the-art training facility for the Capitals and EagleBank Arena on George Mason University's campus. In conjunction with the District of Columbia and Events DC, MSE is a partner in a new sports and entertainment facility in Southeast DC on the St. Elizabeth's East campus that opened in September 2018. Facility highlights include MedStar Wizards Performance Center, the brand-new training facility for the Wizards, Go-Go and Mystics, and a 4,200-seat arena which will serve as the new home of the Mystics and Go-Go. Monumental Sports & Entertainment also co-owns and operates Monumental Sports Network (MSN) with the NBC Sports Group. MSN is the mid-Atlantic region's top destination for exclusive fan experiences and original sports content across desktop, tablet, mobile and OTT streaming devices. Visit www.monumentalsports.com.