- The story goes back to 1973, with the desire to help Philippe Chatrier, then president of the FFT, achieve his goal of modernizing Roland Garros Stadium and ushering in a new era for the tournament. Since then, the story has not ceased to unfold. This year marks 50 years of loyalty in a dynamic partnership reflecting an enduring determination to make tennis more accessible.
- In 2023, BNP Paribas celebrates 50 years of loyalty and commitment to tennis driven by the growing conviction that this sport can rally people together, even off court, and have a positive impact, especially among young people.
- This morning, to mark the start of the French Open, the bank brought together its extensive family of committed tennis players (Yannick Noah, John McEnroe, Justine Henin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Félix Auger-Aliassime) at Porte d’Auteuil to unveil new initiatives and pledge its continued support for tennis in its quest for greater accessibility and inclusion of young people.
1973-2023: 50 years of loyalty and commitment to the development of tennis
Half a century! Signed when Georges Pompidou was in the Elysée Palace, BNP Paribas’ partnership with the French Open has now seen seven presidents of the French Republic. Today, as in the past, BNP Paribas shares the game’s values of fair play, commitment and performance. An individual sport, tennis has over the years – with BNP Paribas’ involvement – become a genuine collective adventure, more inclusive and accessible than ever before.
Only a “Musketeer” could have sparked such an epic story. Back in the 1960s, champion Henri Cochet ecame a tennis coach for the lucky employees of Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNCI), the forerunner of BNP.
So it was on the courts that the love affair began between French tennis and BNP, and where the ball was symbolically put into play for an enduring partnership.
The association between BNP and tennis took a major turn in 1973. Philippe Chatrier, president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), was keen to build box seats on the Roland Garros center court, a court that has borne his name since 2001. The BNP branch in Auteuil, which was handling the FFT account at the time, supported and financed the work, which is how the three letters “BNP” came to adorn the court tarpaulins. Fifty years later, they are still there.
In the 1980s, with the French Open as the jewel in its crown, BNP decided to extend its support for tennis. Today, the bank’s countless partnerships cover the full length and breadth of France. Its support for the entire industry – particularly amateurs – is reflected in its sponsorship of numerous clubs and tournaments from one end of the country to the other.
In 1993, the Group began supporting wheelchair tennis, in keeping with its unflagging determination to make tennis more accessible. Since then, BNP Paribas has supported several major tournaments worldwide, including the World Team Cup, the Tokyo Open and the French Riviera Open today.
The 2000s marked another turning point in the love affair between BNP Paribas and tennis. The logo of the new “BNP Paribas” brand, born of the merger between BNP and Paribas, was unveiled at the French Open. At the same tournament, the ball boys and girls for the first time hailed from all over France, thanks to further support from the bank.
The beginning of the new millennium also saw increasing globalization of the partnership with tennis. In 2001, the Group became the first worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup (2001-2019). The Fed Cup (2005-2022), Monte Carlo (since 2005), Rome (since 2007), Indian Wells (since 2009), the Women’s Masters (2011-2018) and the Shanghai Masters (2010-2012) then followed. In 1993, the bank also became a partner of the Bercy Open, which was known as the BNP Paribas Masters from 2003 to 2016.
Today, BNP Paribas is a partner of several international tournaments. The list naturally includes a Grand Slam tournament with the French Open, but also three Masters 1000 (BNP Paribas Open, Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, Internazionale BNL d’Italia), one ATP 500 (Queen’s), three ATP 250 (Open 13 Provence, Lyon Open Parc, Moselle Open) and two WTA 250 (BNP Paribas Poland Open, TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open).
The 2010s were marked by a determination to make tennis even more accessible for fans. That was what prompted BNP Paribas to create We Are Tennis in 2011, to allow fans to experience their passion more intensely. A total of 2.3 million fans currently subscribe to the platform’s social media, forming a community that each year shares more than 8,000 benefits ranging from tickets and equipment to tennis media subscriptions.
In 2015, BNP Paribas created the We Are Tennis Fan Academy (WATFA), the world’s first school for tennis fans. With its brass band and chants, it has proven its ability to excite and engage any audience to create a truly unique atmosphere.
Lastly, driven by the quest to make the tennis of tomorrow synonymous with inclusion and accessibility, BNP Paribas is furthering a path already well-trodden in previous years, particularly since 2001 with the start of the partnership with Yannick Noah’s non-profit “Fête le Mur”, which promotes tennis playing in priority neighborhoods with a view to combining education and integration. Today, this is reflected in the following initiatives:
- Les Aces du Cœur, a charity that has raised €900,000 to support younger generations since its inception in 2015;
- The “BNP Paribas Young Talents Teams” program created in 2018, which today provides support for 160 budding tennis stars from France, Belgium, the United States, Italy, Canada and Poland in a dual challenge – sporting and educational – in the company of inspiring sponsors including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Justine Henin and John McEnroe;
- The #FAAPointsForChange program, launched in early 2020 with Félix Auger-Aliassime (aged 22, world number 10) to support education and protection for young people in Togo. Félix donates $5 for each point he scores on the ATP circuit, and BNP Paribas tops that up with a further $15. The money raised goes to the EduChange program set up by Care NGO.
To pay tribute to these 50 years of loyalty, a film has been produced and will be aired on TV and digital channels throughout the French Open fortnight. Featuring numerous archive images, the film honors the enduring nature of our commitment and shows how tennis has developed.
Watch the film: https://youtu.be/e4LZ3pQZ624
The great tennis family, united and committed!
On Sunday, May 28th, BNP Paribas chose the Roland Garros stadium to celebrate its golden anniversary and commitment to tennis and unveil the new “building blocks” of its commitment, in the presence of Amélie Mauresmo, director of the French Open, and the sponsors of its existing programs,
Thierry Laborde, Chief Operating Officer of BNP Paribas
“We are immensely proud today to be celebrating 50 years of commitment to tennis and to be doing so at Roland Garros Stadium, whose history is interwoven with that of BNP Paribas. With the exceptional sponsors of our commitment programs, we share the conviction that tennis is even greater when it is committed, collective and centered on youth. This is the principle that has guided our actions over the past 50 years, and we will continue with the same energy in the years to come.”
PHOTO DES INTERVENANTS SUR SCENE / PHOTO GLOBAL AVEC LES JEUNES
To mark the occasion, BNP Paribas announced the extension of its BNP Paribas Young Talents Teams program with the launch of two new teams, one in Portugal and another in Japan, sponsored by Daisuke Arai, world number 12 wheelchair tennis player and an employee of BNP Paribas Japan.
The program continues to go from strength to strength. In 2023, eight young players from Team France will compete in the senior tournament:
- Luca Van Assche, 19, ranked 79th
- Diane Parry, 20, ranked 109th
- Arthur Cazaux, 20, ranked 197th
- Elsa Jacquemot, 20, ranked 174th
- Gabriel Debru, 17, ranked 533rd
- Antoine Ghibaudo, 18, ranked 734th
- Arthur Gea, 18, ranked 982nd
- Daphné Mpetshi Perricard, 14, no WTA ranking
And the next generation is already knocking at the door. Ten Young Talents will compete in the Junior tournament, which has seen wins by BNP Paribas Young Talents Team members in each of its last three editions (Gabriel Debru in 2022, Luca Van Assche in 2021 and Elsa Jacquemot in 2020).
The Charity Match: nearly 10,000 young people in the stands for a festive official charity match
To mark the 50th anniversary of its loyalty to tennis, BNP Paribas and the French Tennis Federation are organizing a Charity Match this Sunday, May 28th, starting at 7:00 p.m. The match will count towards the first round of the French Open. The evening match, which will be played on the Philippe Chatrier court, will be an opportunity to galvanize all tennis fans and stakeholders (players, organizers, ball boys and girls, the public) in favor of education and inclusion through sport.
During the match, each point played will be worth 100 euros, and the money raised will go to Attrap’ la Balle, a non-profit created to promote the inclusion of young people through tennis. The president of the association is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Off-court action is planned before and during the match, courtesy of We Are Tennis Fan Academy and its trademark brass band.
Nearly 10,000 young people invited by the bank – hailing from BNP Paribas partner non-profits, license-holders, students, young entrepreneurs and more – will take their seats in the stands for the Charity Match. To allow them to attend this unique event and to play their part in it, some tickets were offered at the token price of 10 euros. All proceeds from ticket sales will go towards increasing the funds donated to Attrap’ la Balle.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, former world number 5 and president of Attrap’ La Balle
“Tennis has taught me many things – the sport has superb values that have made me the man I am today. This is why I am totally committed to trying to make it as accessible as possible, especially for young people, to show that tennis can really make an impact off court.”
50 years for 50 local charity initiatives!
Among the new initiatives presented this morning, and to keep the Charity Match spirit alive, BNP Paribas plans from now on to donate 1 euro for each point played in all matches of the official tournaments it has partnered. The money raised will be used over the next three years to showcase and reward 50 projects aimed at making tennis a more accessible and inclusive sport.
To apply, project leaders can go to the crowdfunding platform created with Ulule.
To learn more, find all the projects selected and give your support, go to: wearetennis.bnpparibas.ulule.com.
BNP Paribas opens its first branch dedicated to tennis, to mark the 50th anniversary of its partnership with the sport
From 2023, the BNP Paribas branch in Auteuil, which originated the partnership with the FFT and French Open, will be the go-to branch for all clients from the world of tennis.
BNP Paribas invited clients and local residents to its opening on May 16th, giving them the chance to learn all about BNP Paribas’ commitment to tennis. The Roland Garros trophy was displayed in the lobby, testimony to the special relationship the branch has maintained with the French Open since 1973. The matches of the tournament’s 2023 edition will be aired in the branch over the entire fortnight.
Throughout the year, the branch will also continue to offer tennis-related benefits and experiences. Fête le Mur, the non-profit sponsored by Yannick Noah, will have a dedicated space there several days a month.
BNP Paribas tennis in the United States
In 2023, BNP Paribas marked its 15th year as the title sponsor of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, with a number of efforts focused on the impact of tennis and future generations:
- Team BNP Paribas Young Talents: A new team was formed in the Americas in partnership with a leading tennis academy to include the most promising and deserving young tennis talents often from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program provided human and financial support to talented young athletes on the path to professional careers and builds on the global roster of 130 players which began in 2018 with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in France and in 2019 with John and Patrick McEnroe in the United States.
- BNP Paribas Open Scholarship Program: For the seventh straight year,BNP Paribas awarded scholarships to four deserving high school students from the local community.
- #FAAPointsForChange: BNP Paribas supports Félix Auger-Aliassime (ATP World No. 9) in his commitment to a cause that is close to his heart – building a better future for youth in the West-African nation of Togo, his father’s home country. The money raised finances the EduChange initiative which is coordinated by CARE, the non-governmental organization, to improve the conditions of young people in the Kara region of Togo.
- #Aces4Trees: Following the devastating California wildfires of 2020, BNP Paribas launched this social media campaign and BNP Paribas teamed up with the American Forest Foundation to support their reforestation efforts across the United States. Two trees will be planted for every ace served throughout the tournament and an additional two trees for every share using #Aces4Trees and @bnpparibas.
BNP Paribas is the title sponsor of the BNP Paribas Open since 2009 and has leveraged its commitment to the sport in the Americas to support a wide range of social inclusion and environmental activities across the tennis world.
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About BNP Paribas & Tennis
BNP Paribas is one of the major worldwide partners to tennis, with an unrivalled commitment to sport, going back to 1973. The Group’s support covers all levels and dimensions of the game all over the world, including singles, doubles, team tennis, wheelchair tennis and family tennis, ranging from beginners’ training to top professional tournaments:
- Professional Tennis: Official sponsor of the French Open at Roland-Garros; title sponsor of three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments – the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Italian Open) in Rome; partner to the Open 13 (Marseille), the Open Parc de Lyon Open, the Metz Moselle Open, Queens Championships ; TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open, BNP Paribas Poland Open
- Wheelchair Tennis: BNP Paribas World Team Cup; French Riviera Open; WJP Challenge Tennis, Swiss Open Genève
- Junior & University Tennis and Academies: Master’U BNP Paribas;
- Amateur Tennis: Sponsors of the BNP Paribas Family Trophy; also supporting over 1,000 amateur tournaments around the world
- The younger generations: BNP Paribas supports over 130 deserving young tennis and wheelchair tennis players, through its ‘Team BNP Paribas Young Talents’ programs in France (with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and the French Tennis Federation), the United States (with John and Patrick McEnroe), Italy, Belgium, Poland and Canada; also partner of the Roland-Garros ball-kids selections for over 20 years
- Solidarity Tennis: Supporting a number of original tennis related social engagement projects, through partnerships with more than 20 national tennis federations and dozens of tennis-based charity organisations: ‘#FAAPointsForChange‘ with Felix Auger-Aliassime; ‘Fête le Mur’ with Yannick Noah; the ‘Aces Du Cœur‘ charity program for hospitalized children; the ‘Sound of Tennis‘ initiative for visually impaired athletes in the United States; the Israel Wheelchair Tennis Project
- Tennis e-sport: ‘Roland-Garros e-Series by BNP Paribas’, an e-sport tournament played all over the world as part of the ‘Tennis World Tour’ video game
- Employee tennis: the ‘BNP Paribas We Are Tennis Cup’ is one of the largest global employee tennis tournaments in the world (3,500 participants each year)
Having entered into all these partnerships, in 2011 BNP Paribas set up a program called ‘We Are Tennis’, with the purpose to promote interest in the game of tennis all over the world. The wearetennis.com website and its social network accounts bring together a community of tennis lovers and dedicated fans from all continents who are keen to obtain the latest news from the ATP, WTA and ITF circuits. Furthermore, in 2015 BNP Paribas created the ‘We Are Tennis Fan Academy’, which enables fans to express their passion for tennis as never before.