caught up with the two guys in charges of tennis-related communications at BNP at the Davis Cup tie last weekend. might be a few insights for those studying or wanting to work in sports marketing: full article (with photos): http://indecentxposure.com/grind/fe403260095b6f5e02374af4ec15dff794937635/ SPORTS MARKETING 101: BNP PARIBAS AND PRO TENNIS POSTED BY JACK HAN ON APR 12, 2013 IN BUSINESS Many people I know want to be in sports marketing, but few of them actually know about the nuts and bolts of how the industry works. To give you a better sense of how sports marketing works, I have sought out expert opinion. While witnessing Team Canada make history by defeating Italy during the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Vancouver this past weekend, I had a unique opportunity to sit down with Sauveur MENELLA, Head of Corporate Communications, and Aurélien LEHEMBRE, Associate – Global Sponsorship, of BNP Paribas. The Parisian-based bank is one of the biggest financial institutions in the world, and also happens to sink between 30 and 40 million Euros annually into associating its brand with the sport of tennis. During a brief intermission of the epic doubles match between Daniel Nestor – Vasek Pospisil of Canada and Fabio Fognini – Daniele Bracciali of Italy, I had a chance to ask the two men some questions about their vision of sports marketing and how it is executed at BNP Paribas. HOW DID BNP-PARIBAS BECOME INVESTED IN SPORTS? Aurélien: There is actually a 40-year history of collaboration between BNP and the sport of tennis, and it started almost by coincidence. In 1973, the French Tennis Federation, administrators of the French Open, decided to make some renovations to the tennis facilities at Stade Roland Garros. Consequently, they needed a line of credit of about three million Francs to finance the construction work. When the Federation approached the BNP, the president of the bank saw an opportunity to give more visibility to our brand by partnering with one of the biggest sporting events in France. Consequently, BNP gave good credit terms to the French Federation in exchange for the presence of a small currency exchange booth on the tournament site, where visitors could change their local currencies into Francs to spend on tickets or concessions. That was how it was in the first year, and the scope of the partnership has grown every year since then. WHY TENNIS? Sauveur: There are many other sports which are popular with corporate sponsors, such as soccer or Formula One. However, we have made a strategic decision to focus on tennis for several reasons. First, because of the long history we have with the game, as Aurélien explained. Second, we wanted to be very strong in one sport, and have decided that being number one in tennis was the most beneficial for us. Third, tennis as a sport is very inclusive – men/women, singles/doubles, individual/team. There are major tournaments year-round, in all parts of the world. That fits very well with what BNP Paribas stands for as a company. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS SPONSORED BY BNP-PARIBAS? Aurélien: The list is long indeed. Davis Cup (the tennis equivalent of the World Team Championships), Fed Cup (the female equivalent of Davis Cup), the Masters 1000 events in Rome, Monte Carlo and London, the WTA Year-End Championship in Istanbul, the BNP-Paribas Open at Indian Wells, et cetera. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERSEEING TENNIS-RELATED ACTIVITIES AT BNP-PARIBAS? Sauveur: Despite the scale of our commitment to tennis, the team responsible for tennis-related communication is actually very small –three people in Paris and three more in North America. I am based in Montreal, and Aurélien works out of Paris. We are also responsible for many other facets of communication at BNP-Paribas, so the sports marketing task is just another one of our responsibilities we fulfill a few times a year. BNP-PARIBAS SPENDS OVER 30 MILLION EUROS PER YEAR ON TENNIS. HOW IS RETURN ON INVESTMENT QUANTIFIED? Aurélien: Each time a contract is up for renewal, we contract a specialized firm called Kantar to do a study of our brand visibility at the event. This allows us to have an idea of how often and for how long a spectator is exposed to our brand when in attendance, which ultimately allows us to convert that visibility into a monetary value. Sauveur: Because of our brand’s tradition with the sport, it has actually become part of our corporate identity. When BNP and Paribas merged their operations in 2000, we actually used the opening of the Roland Garros tournament as the launch point for our new corporate branding. Because of the long-standing partnership we have with the tournament, and with tennis in general, it gave us a lot of positive publicity and allowed us to communicate the new BNP-Paribas brand in a very effective way. WHAT ARE SOME NEW INTIATIVES YOU ARE WORKING ON? Sauveur: Though we still use traditional media tools such as TV and billboard, in the past two years we have focused more and more on digital tools. We have created an online community called WeAreTennis.com, of which we will soon be launching a third iteration. The community allows tennis fans worldwide to have access to information and to connect with one another. HOW DOES SPORT SPONSORSHIP HELP IN OTHER FACETS OF THE BANK’S BUSINESS? Sauveur: Beyond communicating the brand to the end-customer at the tournaments, it also allows us to get to know our corporate partners better, to meet them and talk outside of the office. The change in context is very helpful. Everyone is relaxed and we can discuss about our passion. It’s a very effective work tool.