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Opinion

The vicious world of tennis sponsorship

Over a pleasant June afternoon at the Queen’s Club in west London, Euromoney learns more than it ever expected to about the economics of tennis sponsorship. BNP Paribas sponsors a lot of tennis tournaments – hundreds in fact, including the majors, many of the ATP tour events, masters, seniors, juniors, possibly extra-terrestrials. Rather than negotiating the contracts en masse, it has a dedicated team that specializes in negotiating each one individually. It’s worth the effort. Many of the lesser tour events are now broadcast on free-to-air national TV channels for many hours each day, offering near constant exposure.

Euromoney wonders idly if it’s better to have the logo directly in view down the centre of the court, as Aegon’s is at Queen’s, in a touch of the hard sell, or more subtly appearing behind the server’s shoulder as our host’s does. This reverie is interrupted by the realization that the bankers have their heads in their hands. The first seed, Andy Murray, was beaten on day one, now BBC viewers are watching the second seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, bow out on day two.

The final might have offered some relief, though. It became notorious, and widely viewed, for the disqualification of frustrated Argentine star David Nalbandian, following a vicious kick at a wooden panel in front of an elderly line judge that disintegrated, injuring the poor man’s leg.

Euromoney is thankful for our hosts that the offending panel bore Nike’s logo. As grave-looking officials appeared, the crowd booed and chaos descended, BNP Paribas’ subtly placed logo peeped out reassuringly. "Don’t worry", it seemed to say. " be another tournament next week... and the week after that."

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