March 3-16, 2014 at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.The BNP Paribas Open is the largest two-week combined ATP & WTA professional tennis tournament next to the four majors including the US Open, Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. Located in the beautiful destination resort of Palm Springs, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the second largest tennis stadium in the world with 16,100 seats.
The BNP Paribas Open, the most-attended WTA Premier and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament in the world and the largest two-week combined outside of the four Majors (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open).
The event is held annually in the beautiful destination resort of Palm Springs area, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, one of the world’s most attended venues for watching the top professionals compete. The state-of-the-art facility boasts a 16,100-seat stadium, the second largest in the world, and seven other match courts spread across 54 acres of lush landscape, which creates a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.
The world of professional tennis has come a long way since the beginning of its open era in the late sixties….only forty years ago. And, almost at the same time, a professional men’s tournament was emerging in the Southern California desert. Located in the second largest market in the country, it has evolved into the largest combined ATP World Tour and WTA in the world next to the four Grand Slams. The BNP Paribas Open is a two-week combined ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier event featuring the top men and women professional players competing in a 96 singles draw and 32 doubles draw. The event is hosted at the magnificent Indian Wells Tennis Garden, located in the beautiful Southern California desert. Of the 23 sessions played, attendance is taken from only 20 sessions and in 2012 the event attracted over 370,000 tennis fans. The event offers equal prize money totaling $9 million.
The tournament started as an ATP fund-raising event in Tucson, Arizona before moving to Mission Hills Country Club in the Coachella Valley in 1976 where it benefited from a successful five-year run. The event’s connections with the Coachella Valley were nearly broken, however, when the ATP considered moving it to a proposed tennis stadium to be built near Disney World in Florida.
Pasarell, a native of Puerto Rico who had been the No. 1-ranked player in the U.S., was an ATP Board Member and the Director of Tennis at the La Quinta Hotel. He lobbied the ATP Board to keep the event in the Coachella Valley and convinced the owners of the La Quinta Hotel to build tennis facilities adequate for the event. Pasarell’s efforts resulted in the tournament’s move to the La Quinta Hotel, a new 7,500-seat tennis stadium, and a commitment to make the event “even better” in the future.
When the event moved into its new home in 1981, Pasarell became the tournament director. It enjoyed success in the following years and had several noteworthy finals, the most memorable being the 1982 championship when Yannick Noah ended Ivan Lendl’s winning streak of 44 matches, just two short of the men’s record.
It was Pasarell’s goal for the tournament to grow into a major tennis event at which both top men’s and women’s competitions would be take place during the same time period. To fulfill this goal, he implemented a plan that was simple in concept but difficult in execution — to build the event’s popularity with the players, the fans, the sponsors and the media through great facilities, attention to detail, strong competition, and wide print and broadcast coverage.
During the six years (1981 – 1986) the tournament was held in La Quinta, it indeed became established as a very popular tennis destination for the players, the fans, the sponsors and the media. In fact, the event achieved such success that it outgrew the tennis stadium and facilities at the La Quinta Hotel. If Pasarell’s goals were to be accomplished, and if the event were to strive for “major tennis event” status, he needed to build a larger, more modern and permanent tennis stadium with enhanced facilities.
To construct the appropriate tennis stadium and facilities, Pasarell and long-time friend Raymond Moore established a company known as PM Sports Management, and created a team along with other investors (including Alan King) to design, develop and operate a luxurious resort hotel and tennis facility in nearby Indian Wells. Pasarell signed Newsweek as title sponsor and Indian Wells became home to the Newsweek Champions Cup.