SBD/March 18, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Rising Up The Rankings: BNP Paribas Using Tennis Sponsorships To Grow Brand

BNP Paribas title sponsors three different ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events
BNP Paribas has a "broad tennis portfolio," title sponsoring three of the "nine high-level men's tournaments known as Masters 1000 events," including this week's BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., according to Carl Bialik of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The Paris-based bank also has its name "on the back wall" of the French Open, Davis Cup and Fed Cup. Having multiple tournaments "with similar names can be risky for sponsors, because the media and the public could dodge the confusion by referring to the tournaments by the names of their host cities, which tend to be more permanent." Sebastien Guyader, who is in charge of branding and sponsorship for BNP, said that "omitting the official tournament name isn't as big of a problem in the U.S. as it is in Europe." He said naming the sponsor is "very strong in the U.S., less so in other countries. You can see 'BNP Paribas Open' everywhere [at the event]." Guyader noted that examples include the "credentials lanyards, merchandise and, of course, the back walls of every court, where it makes its way into telecasts and many photographs of the event." BNP Paribas Open Tournament Dir Steve Simon indicated that "new sponsored titles usually take three to four years to catch on but that it seems to him fans and the press started calling this tournament BNP much earlier in the relationship." Guyader said that tennis is the bank's "sole sports-marketing focus, at a price of less than $30 million this year." Bialik noted the Indian Wells tournament is "part of an effort to raise awareness of BNP Paribas's presence in North America" (WSJ.com, 3/17).
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