Airbnb signs deal to sponsor 2016 Olympics, easing Rio's housing shortage

Associated Press

Online home share startup Airbnb has signed a deal to become the official "alternative accommodations" sponsor of the 2016 Olympics.

Official Olympic websites will feature a link to Airbnb's site and encourage spectators coming to Rio de Janeiro for the games to use the service to rent space in private homes and apartments.

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Officials from the local Olympic organizing committee said Friday this marked the first time the Olympics has had an alternative accommodations sponsor.

Rio's poor hotel infrastructure has been long been considered a critical issue. When the city won the Olympic bid in 2009, it had just half the 40,000 hotel beds required by Olympic officials. New hotels have been built, and the city now has 40,000.

Airbnb's around 20,000 offerings in Rio will be aimed at Olympic visitors.