The greatest thing about the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden—other than the fact that it’s still privately owned by Oracle billionaire and Rancho Mirage resident Larry Ellison—is that everybody who participates wins! The top tennis pros in the world get to compete in our Palm Springs Valley paradise at nine state-of-the-art stadiums in the fifth largest tennis tournament in the world. And fans—a record 500,000 expected in person, with another 25 million watching at home on TV—get to thrill at the sights and sounds of world class men’s and women’s singles and doubles.
Though the sports extravaganza began on March 7, it runs through March 20, so there’s at least a week of fun left to be had. And at www.bnpparibasopen.com, you can still nab daily tickets, series, and mini-packages for great seats at sure-to-be tumultuous matches. Of course, everyone knows that the Williams sisters—Venus and Serena—will be appearing together at the Paribas for the first time since 2001. But playing on these local courts this year will also be 10 former tournament and 14 Grand Slam singles champs. Just some of the literally hundreds of athletes vying for prizes will be Roger Federer, Agnieszka Radwanska, Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, Stan Wawrinka, Simona Halep, Andy Murray, Garbiñe Muguruza, and Rafael Nadal.
And lest neophytes to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden think that the sport is the one and only game in “town,” veterans can attest to the fact that there’s so much to do on tournament grounds that days and evenings are full indeed. There are high-end restaurants galore, retail opportunities abounding, and at least two premium watering holes (including the highly anticipated new The Sports Bar, with its 600 seating capacity and 60 flat-screens, and the RumChata Oasis). There are Tennis Talks during the day, and live music at the Tennis Village each evening. And don’t forget to stop by the many booths sponsored by the likes of HEAD Penn, Lavazza, Fila, Audi, and Bank of the West (which boasts its 180-degree SmashCam).
I don’t know about you, but I intend to visit multiple times in the coming week. I just like knowing that I’m one of the hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors who are contributing to the nearly 400-million-dollar economic impact this affair has on our valley. Oh, and if you’re coming to town from elsewhere, don’t forget that Rancho Mirage has four deluxe resorts—Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, and The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa—located mere minutes by car from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.