“Roland-Garros has played a decisive role in building our visibility. It remains the “flagship” event of our tennis sponsoring programme. Our loyalty to this sport in all of its dimensions reflects the core values that are essential to a bank operating on the ground: local presence and support over the long term.”

Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO of BNP Paribas

 

Great stories are often born of chance encounters.

The year is 1973. Philippe Chatrier, President of the French Tennis Federation, wishes to build private boxes facing centre court in the stadium at Roland-Garros. The plans are presented to the Banque Nationale de Paris, which agrees to provide financing for the work. In honour of this partnership, three letters appear on the famous courtside banner: BNP is the official sponsor of the French Open.

Roland Garros in 1975

40 years ago, BNP Paribas took its first steps on the clay of Roland-Garros. Today, our Group is the number one corporate sponsor of tennis. Over the course of these 40 years, tennis has gained international popularity; BNP has enjoyed considerable expansion and is today known as BNP Paribas, one of the world’s leading banking and finance groups.The Group’s loyalty to the game has been effective from not only a marketing point of view, but also a human one.

In this vein, BNP Paribas has launched an interactive 40 years of loyalty to Roland-Garros platform on its 100% tennis site, wearetennis.com. It is a place where the history of Roland-Garros is brought to life. We went to meet some of the major figures who have helped write the history of the French Open: Serena Williams, Yannick Noah, Ivan Lendl, Chris Evert, Gustavo Kuerten, Guy Forget, Na li, to name a few. Their memories of the tournament are posted here, side by side. Fans from across the world are also invited to share their own anecdotes and memories of Roland-Garros.

Roland Garros in 1976
“In 1976, the organisation had to refuse 20,000 admissions to spectators.”

The history of tennis is not only the story of the top players; it is the collective story of all those connected with the game – from the ball boys and girls to the line judges, from the journalists to the umpires, from the spectators in the stands to the families watching the matches on TV.

In France, a number of “dreams” have also been made available to the greater public via this platform. By contributing their stories to the site or participating via social media, a few lucky individuals will be chosen to "live the dream" they never thought was possible. Imagine playing with a professional player on centre court, throwing the coin toss at the women's final on 8 June, or even awarding the trophy at the men’s singles final? We Are Tennis is turning these dreams into reality for this special 40th anniversary.