Oh what a thrill it will be March 3-16, 2014 as Hurricane BNP Paribas Open makes landfall in Indian Wells. The world of professional tennis has never been the same since the advent of this incredible annual event some 40 years ago. Of course the current setting is one of the reasons. The 89 acre state-of-the-art tennis stadium, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden simply has no equal. Owned by Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison, the venue was the vision of Puerto Rican native Charlie Pasarells together with his partner Raymond Moore, the late Mark McCormick and others who implemented the building of the $78 million tennis stadium in 2000.
Since then to say it has become the stuff of legend is no exaggeration. The event itself has become the largest combined ATP world tour and WGA in the world next to the four Grand Slams. This is no small feat. The two-week open features the top tennis professionals in the world competing in a 96 singles draw and 32 doubles draw. In 2012 the event attracted over 370,000 tennis fans and this year offers equal prize money totaling $9 million.
Perhaps now you can see why we here in the Coachella Valley get so excited over this unique, and distinguished event. If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting the Indian Wells Tennis Garden you know the ambiance of those lushly landscaped grounds. They have played host to people like Pavarotti, Bocelli, The Boston Pops and a host of other famous names and events that have distinguished the entertainment and culture in this valley on an exalted level.
Everyone who is anyone has played tennis on these superbly designed professional courts. In fact, I have to love the quote by Bill Dwyre, the past sports editor of the Los Angeles Times that I recently read. In his words, “If you are a fan of the sport of tennis or just sport, it is difficult not to be seduced by Charlie Pasarell’s dream in the desert. If this is not tennis Camelot you can see it from here.” Well said, and I totally concur.
The currently celebrated BNP Paribas Tournament actually rang in the 2009 New Year with the announcement that they would be the new title sponsor of the event. Since then things have only gotten bigger and better. In 2010 the tournament celebrated its 35th anniversary and in the first few months of his ownership, Larry Ellison coordinated the “Hit for Haiti” exhibition, presented by Oracle for the first Friday evening of the tournament. This has set the stage for the charitable pursuits that continue. True to form, this valley knows how to combine business with pleasure and rarely has fun without contributing to charity as well.
Don’t miss the incomparable BNP Paribas Open for the thrill of a lifetime. Hope to see you there!
For more information on the BNP Paribas Open visit http://www.bnpparibasopen.com.