Big Plans as BNP Paribas Open Begins
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
Another world-class sporting event is underway in the valley, with pre-qualifying tournament play for the BNP Paribas Open beginning Monday.
The annual tennis tournament in Indian Wells delivers millions of dollars into our local economy, and now there's a new plan to increase that impact even more.
Each year there's a new addition or feature to see at the BNP Paribas tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Aside from the action on the courts this year, fans can also check out what's happening to the tennis garden itself.
Two talented tennis players will earn the opportunity to play in the BNP Paribas Open qualifying tournament.
More than 150 competitors are fighting for those two wildcards.
"It means a lot because I've won Wildcards before but never for something this big, so it would mean a lot," said Naomi Osaka, for Japan.
Spectators turned out to watch the players try to win a spot.
"It's quite a challenge, quite a challenge. We wanted to come to see what the stadium was like and some of what the play would be like," said Missouri residents, Dineen and Ray Ebert.
New for 2013, all the seats in the main stadium have been replaced and there is added seating in the warm-up, practice areas.
And big news for 2014, a major expansion will be built at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"Brand new second stadium of 8,000 seats, a brand new entrance to the site, additional parking to the site, and a lot of other great new amenities," said tournament director, Steve Simon.
There will be two restaurants at the stadium, also in the expansion are four additional practice courts, a large shade structure, a new entrance and parking for 2,000 more cars.
Attendance grows each year; in 2012, 370,000 people came to watch the world's top tennis players at the BNP Paribas Open.
"With our growth and the new expansion and everything, hopefully hit a goal of over 500,000 people in a few years," said Simon.
They will start construction for the new stadium March 18th, the day after the tournament.
But before that, the 2013 BNP Paribas Open has a lot to offer tennis fans and families.
"If you have kids, bring them to kids day on March the 2nd, free admission on the first two days of the tournament, March 4th and the 5th, and just lots of great tennis, so get their tickets and come on out," said Simon.
The pre-qualifier runs through Saturday, and all those matches are free and open to the public.