Last updated: 02:37 PM ET, Sat March 28 2015

Airbnb Becomes a 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Sponsor

Hotel & Resort | Michael Isenbek | March 28, 2015

Airbnb Becomes a 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Sponsor

Photo courtesy of Cristina Luisa

Airbnb, one of the leading online homeshare sites, has just signed a sponsorship deal with the organizers of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to the Associated Press.

The deal will help ease a lodging crunch for spectators, that has been an ongoing concern once the city won the bid for the games in 2009. An undisclosed sum was paid to the organizers by Airbnb, and in return, they are the official “alternative accommodations” sponsor for the games. There will be a link to Airbnb on official Olympic websites, where it will be suggested that spectators rent space in apartments and private homes around Rio. Offering such alternative lodgings is believed to be a first for the games.

While Rio now has the 42,000 beds required for athletes and their entourages, the media and sponsors, the huge number of spectators is the biggest accommodation issue. "When we started all that (Olympic bidding process) several years ago, the major problem was hotels. How are we going to host so many people," Sidney Levy, CEO of the Rio 2016 organizing committee, said at a news conference.

Airbnb is offering around 20,000 rooms, apartments, and houses across the entire metropolis, and they are ready to welcome the rush of Olympics revelers.

Airbnb's chief product officer and co-founder, Joe Gebbia, said Friday's deal would "make it possible for more people to attend Olympic games next year."

"We're ready for the expected 380,000 spectators who are coming to Rio for the Olympic games, and we're ready to show them what traditional, authentic Brazilian hospitality looks like," he said, adding that the sponsorship deal is an "incredible opportunity for Rio residents to care for those visitors."

The only issue would be price, with what can only be described as price gouging occurring during the World Cup soccer tournament held last year in Rio. When asked if Airbnb would take measures to prevent this, Gebbia said that, in accordance with the site’s rules, the homeowners decides the final price for the stay.

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