The BNP Paribas Open has a new owner. Oracle co-founder/CEO Larry Ellison has purchased the combined ATP/WTA event, which returns to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden March 8-21, 2010.
Under the Tennis Ventures, LLC umbrella, Ellison purchased 100 percent of the assets from the previous ownership group, which included managing partners Charlie Pasarell and Ray Moore, as well as George Mackin, Bob Miller, the USTA, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King.
“We put our baby in the best hands we can think of,” said Pasarell of Ellison. “He’s as passionate as we are and desires to continue with the vision and the goals we have established.”
“I’m very excited,” said Ellison. “Anyone who knows me knows that I love the game. I play it regularly, watch it frequently and now look forward to being in Indian Wells every March to host the greatest players in the world.”
The tournament originally came to the Coachella Valley in ‘76, and in ’81, Pasarell took over as tournament director. He and Moore formed PM Sports Management in ‘85 and have since been owners and managing partners. They will continue to manage the event and the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Steve Simon will continue as tournament director/COO of the Tennis Garden, and Mackin will serve as the director of sponsorship marketing.
Moore called it “a fantastic coup for tennis,” and added, “People were taking a run at owning this event and moving it to the Middle East or China. We always wanted to keep it here. Now we have one owner, not 32. Larry loves this event, lives in California and his business is in California.”