This year, BNP Paribas celebrates 50 years as a supporter of tennis, with the global bank aligning to the sport through the values of fair play, reactivity and performance. Following a request by the French Tennis Federation to finance the construction of the centre court box seats at Roland-Garros in 1973, the Group is now a major partner of the sport globally through a unique commitment that applies to all levels of the game.
On the first day at the 2023 International Sports Convention, Darek Maciolek, Chief Marketing Officer at BNP Paribas Bank Polska SA explained the enduring strength of the relationship at both a global and local level.
BNP Paribas’ historical commitment applies to all forms of tennis: singles, doubles, wheelchair tennis (World Team Cup, French Riviera Open, French Championships), team, family (BNP Paribas Family Trophy), amateur, university (BNP Paribas Master’U); from learning to the largest professional tournaments.
Roland-Garros was just the first in a long series of partnerships, developed with tournaments and professional competitions around the world: BNP Paribas as title sponsor of the Billie Jean King Cup, sponsor of three ATP Masters 1000 (BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, BNL Italian Open in Rome), Open 13 Provence (Marseille), Lyon Open Parc, Moselle Open (in Metz, France), BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open.
The Group also promotes corporate sport through its employee tournament, the ‘We Are Tennis Cup’, which has become one of the world’s leading corporate sporting events, involving over 3,000 employees each year.
At a local level, reflecting on the Polish market, where Maciolek manages the marketing activities, the rise of polish players to the top of the game has coincided with a boom in interest.
“With Iga Świątek now a three-time major singles champion and the #1 ranked player in the world, plus Hubert, tennis is booming in Poland and the relationship between the sport and BNP Paribas has never been stronger.”
In 2021, to strengthen the relationship further still, BNP Paribas took the title sponsorship of the Poland Open tournament – the only WTA 250 top tier event hosted annually in the country – which welcomes top ranked players from Poland and around the world.
As Maciolek says: “The results speak for themselves with research showing that BNP Paribas’ brand recognition in the country has climbed almost doubled in the last five years from 14% in 2017 to 29% in 2022.”
It’s not just the elite level where BNP Paribas shows its support for the game. Sponsorship of tennis events also has a dimension of social involvement.
In 2015, as part of this activity, the Group initiated Aces from the Heart – an initiative aimed at financing social and self-help projects (environment, gender equality, youth inclusion) or projects aimed at improving living conditions in the neonatology departments of hospitals near tournaments. To date, nearly €600,000 has been transferred to the various projects supported by the scheme.
In Poland, the Kids for Rackets programme launched in 2016 promoting physical activity among children, their parents and teachers. The main goal of the project was to popularise tennis and, helped by the appointment of Iga Świątek as an ambassador, in the first four years more than 10,000 participants took part.
Maciolek explains that tennis provides BNP Paribas with a truly global platform which included 496m viewers in 2021. For its sponsorship programmes, BNP receives 31 minutes of visibility for each hour of a tournament and 75,000 hours exposure per year.
The numbers are impressive and there is no question one of sports longest running partnerships is set to continue for many more decades.