BNP Paribas splits from Davis Cup as Kosmos scraps title sponsorship
By Jonathan Rest
BNP Paribas, the multi-national bank, today ended its 17-year title sponsorship of tennis’ Davis Cup, following a major revamp of the men’s national teams competition.
BNP has been a sponsor of the event since 2001 and put its name to the trophy a year later, but its agreement to 2021 has now been renegotiated by the International Tennis Federation and Kosmos Tennis, the sports and media investment group founded by Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué that is the ITF’s long-term partner for the Davis Cup.
BNP will remain the title sponsor of the women’s Fed Cup to 2021, a role it has held since 2005, as well as the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup, but as of 31 March, the Davis Cup will be rebranded as Davis Cup, The World Cup of Tennis, as part of a new commercial strategy being put in place by Kosmos.
No replacement title sponsor will be sought, with Kosmos and the ITF focusing on a two-tier commercial model.
Javier Alonso, chief executive of Kosmos Tennis, told Sportcal today: “There will be two levels of sponsors. Global sponsors, the ones that will be in all countries... On top of that, we are working on new commercial packages per region.
“We plan to find premium ‘presenting partners’ per region in order to maximise commercial opportunities for brands. For the first time in the Davis Cup, we will be able to target on-field marketing for every country where the finals will be broadcast thanks to the Virtual Replacement technology.”
This technology enables rights-holders to to sell targeted advertising in markets around the world.
Barcelona-based Kosmos is now selling the sponsorship rights to the tournament itself, taking the responsibility off the ITF, while Sportcal understands Kosmos is working alongside BeIN Media Group, the international pay-TV broadcaster, on the sale of media rights.
In 2015, BeIN struck a seven-year deal with the ITF covering the global media rights to the Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
Global sponsors already signed up for the inaugural Davis Cup, The World Cup of Tennis in Madrid in November are: Lexus, the luxury car brand of Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota; Swiss watchmaker Rolex; French fashion house Louis Vuitton; Spanish soccer’s top-tier LaLiga; Adecco, the international human resources provider; Ifema, the Madrid exhibition complex; and the city and region of Madrid.
David Haggerty, the president of the ITF, said today: “BNP Paribas has made a vast contribution to the success of the Davis Cup as title sponsor over the past 17 years. We are proud of the great work we have achieved together for Davis Cup and we look forward to continuing our relationship across a number of properties from the grass roots to the top of the game.”
Bertrand Cizeau, deputy head of company engagement at BNP Paribas, added: “We wish the best for the next phase of this competition and are keen to continue to develop our action, together with the ITF, for women and junior tennis players.”
The ITF introduced a new format for the Davis Cup last year on the back of a 25-year, $3-billion partnership with Kosmos and with significant financial backing from Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and chief executive of Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce company.
The 2019 Davis Cup Finals will take place at the Caja Mágica in Madrid from 18 to 24 November, and will feature 18 nations - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Spain and USA.