By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
May 25, 2012
Perhaps taking their cue from the Oscar-winning Woody Allen film, expect to see a growing number of American sponsors in Paris during the French Open. Among the tournament’s 19 official partners are four U.S. corporations – IBM, FedEx, Haagen-Dazs, and Tropicana – and each has a unique reason for being at Roland Garros.
IBM has made it a priority to dominate information technology at elite tennis events, sponsoring all four majors. Since FedEx ships to 90% of the world, it uses the French Open’s international appeal to reach fans across the planet. The General Mills owned Haagen-Dazs brand generates a majority of its revenue overseas, and has high-end, sit-down ice cream parlors throughout Paris, including on the Champs-Elysees. Finally, Tropicana is one of PepsiCo’s most respected international brands, helping to contribute to the $13 billion in European revenues the company makes each year.
Conversely, France’s biggest bank, BNP Paribas, is moving more of its tennis budget OUT of the City of Light. While tennis remains BNP Paribas’ primary sports sponsorship platform, the retail and investment banking giant has moved well beyond Roland Garros to sponsor global Davis and Fed Cup events, not to mention the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. This strategy makes sense: BNP Paribas now maintains a presence in 80 countries, and 70% of its retail banking revenues is earned outside France.