On 1 March, Madison Square Garden was the setting for the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billy Jean King Cup – a top-level women's tennis competition between last year's four Grand Slam winners. Venus Williams took the 2010 title, watched by 11,000 spectators.
BNP Paribas took the opportunity to host a major public relations exercise during the event, targeting clients in the New York region, the Bank's North American headquarters. “This tournament gives the Bank a perfect opportunity to accelerate the growing awareness of our brand in the United States,” said Everett Schenk, CEO of BNP Paribas North America. “It reaffirms our position as the world's number one tennis sponsor, exactly two weeks ahead of our flagship tournament in the USA – the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.”
The Group has been the title sponsor of the BNP Paribas Open – which this year celebrates its 35th anniversary – since 2009 and will remain so for the next four years. The tournament takes place between 8 and 21 March 2010 at Indian Wells, California. The Bank will use its privileged status to invite clients to attend a tournament whose level of sporting excellence and spectator numbers are worthy of a Grand Slam event.
In keeping with its policy of active partnership, BNP Paribas is supporting a wide range of initiatives:
The Group will invite its 200,000 employees in over 80 countries to follow the tournament via a dedicated blog: “Today at the BNP Paribas Open”. A journalist, assigned specifically to Indian Wells, will publish daily tournament reports, match scores and player interviews. And the site content will be further enriched by contributions from customers and employees attending the event.
Lastly, BNP Paribas is supporting an original tennis-ball recycling campaign, in which members of the public are invited to hand in their worn-out tennis balls. These are then recycled using a revolutionary process that gives them a new life. Some 100,000 balls were collected in this way in 2009. The aim is to do five times better in 2010!
Michèle Sicard, Head of Corporate Communications for BNP Paribas North America is delighted with the scheme: “It's a fantastic opportunity for BNP Paribas – which has been partnering tennis for 37 years now – to associate itself with civic initiatives that simultaneously benefit the sport, the environment and society. It's an absolutely perfect fit with our dynamic and responsible sponsorship policy.”
In the United States, BNP Paribas is already the partner through its Bank of the West subsidiary of the ‘Bank of the West Classic', a summer tournament on the WTA circuit since 1991. The Group also sponsors the United States Tennis Association and a wide variety of educational and social programmes, which promote the sport and encourage participation in it.
BNP Paribas and Tennis
Throughout the world, for 37 years, the Group's sponsorship policy has come to cover every aspect of tennis: professional, educational, family and social.
BNP Paribas has gradually become the leading sponsor in world tennis: official sponsor of Roland Garros since 1973, title sponsor of the BNP Paribas Masters since 1986, of the Bank of the West Classic in California since 1991, of Davis Cup by BNP Paribas since 2001, Fed Cup by BNP Paribas since 2005, of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome since 2006, and of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells since 2009, as well as being actively involved in many other international competitions (Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Open 13 in Marseille, etc.) and the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour. Through its support of several national tennis associations, 2000 clubs, 550 amateur tournaments and educational and social programmes around the world, BNP Paribas is actively involved in the promotion of tennis and in encouraging people from all walks of life to take part in the sport. The Group's commitment to the values of social awareness are reflected in the sponsorships it has developed through numerous projects including Yannick Noah's “Fête le Mur association” or the tennis Téléthon in France, the Oberer Tennis Camp in Switzerland or the BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis in the United States.
About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is one of the six strongest banks in the world according to Standard & Poor's* and the largest bank in the eurozone by deposits. With a presence in more than 80 countries and more than 200,000 employees, including 160,000 in Europe, BNP Paribas is a leading European provider of financial services on a worldwide scale. It ranks highly in its three core activities: Retail Banking, Investment Solutions and Corporate & Investment Banking. In Retail Banking, the Group has four domestic markets: Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated model across the Europe-Mediterranean zone and boasts a large network in the United States. BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending in Europe. In its Corporate & Investment Banking and Investment Solutions activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe and solid and fast-growing businesses in Asia.
*Within its peer group