By Nick Georgandis
The old song lyric by the Oak Ridge Boys would have you believe that all the gold in California is "In a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in somebody else's name. The promoters of the BNP Paribas Open beg to differ, and have put their money where their mouth is, announcing an increase in 2013 prize money for the event, topping out at $5,030,402. This is a cool $860,000 above the ATP men's minimum prize money. The women's pirize money elevates by a similar amount.
Indian Wells didn't stop there, also convincing the ATP to allow it to yield 82% of its prize money to the singles fiel, as opposed to the ATP standard of 80%. What's more, Indian Wells will award players more money as they advance deeper into each tournament.
“We have worked with tournament organizers over a number of weeks in order to get as close to the ATP prize money distribution rules as possible,” said ATP CEO Brad Drewett said. “We’re pleased to have reached a decision for 2013. The investment that [owner and billionaire] Larry Ellison has made in the BNP Paribas Open in recent years has been tremendous for the sport. For the long-term benefit of both our players and tournaments, it’s important to establish a rule that can provide suitable parameters for similar requests to be processed in years ahead."
Indian Wells is one of the chief tournaments to try and bill itself as the "fifth major" and falls in longest time lag between any two Grand Slam (the Australian Open in late January, the French Open in early May). Of the 1,000-point ATP tournaments, its prize money is easily the most, followed by Madrid's $4,491,020 and Shanghai's $3,849,445.