Airbnb wins bid to provide rooms for Rio 2016 Olympics: source

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Online home-rental marketplace Airbnb Inc has won a bid to provide rooms for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, as the city scrambles to accommodate visiting fans and athletes, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

The company, which has become one of Silicon Valley’s most successful start-ups in the five years since it was founded by a trio of graduates, beat off competition from two other accommodation providers Hotel Urbano and Alugue Temporada.

The contract is a significant step into the mainstream for the firm, which allows home owners to rent their properties on a temporary basis.

As part of the deal Airbnb will provide 20,000 rooms for the event, the source said without saying how much the contract was worth. Under the deal Airbnb will likely become a sponsor and partner for the Games.

Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It will be the first time a major sporting event has turned to the general public, and their extra rooms, to solve a short-term spike in demand for accommodation. By contrast, in London for the 2012 Olympics some home owners faced potential fines for renting their properties during the Games.

Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker