More than $10 million will be up for grabs at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells this March.
The two-week event marks the first ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier Mandatory tournament of the tennis season, and it will feature the biggest names the sport has to offer.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic headline the men's singles draw while the women's draw is wide open with world No. 1 and two-time Indian Wells champion Serena Williams opting to sit out for the 13th consecutive year.
In addition to crucial ranking points, large sums of money will be at stake in the California desert.
In February 2013, the ATP announced the approval of a prize money increase of more than $800,000, meaning that players earn more than the established minimum at Indian Wells. But getting the proposed increase approved was like pulling teeth—much to the chagrin of many players:
The investment that Larry Ellison has made in the BNP Paribas Open in recent years has been tremendous for the sport. Tennis is fortunate to have the support of someone like Larry who is so passionate about the game. The BNP Paribas Open continues to cement its position as one of the most player and fan-friendly events on the ATP World Tour.
Ellison purchased the tournament back in 2010 and has played a large role in making it pop off the tennis schedule, nearly transforming it into a fifth major.
Let's take a closer look at the complete purse breakdown for this year's BNP Paribas Open.
|2014 BNP Paribas Open Purse|
|Singles||Doubles (per team)|
Keep in mind that players don't accumulate earnings as they work their way through the draw. Instead, they are awarded an amount based on which round they advance to. Therefore, the two singles champions will walk away with $1 million each, twice as much as the players they beat in the tournament final.
Tennis analyst Steph Trudel compares the winners' earnings to those at the season's second Masters event in Miami:
Although the BNP Paribas Open purse is much smaller than either of the four Grand Slam events, it's arguably the most attractive non-major tournament to players from a financial standpoint.
Just reaching the semifinals in the desert this March will earn a singles player $225,000, which is more than twice as much as a quarterfinalist will leave with. And of course, the rich will only get richer, as seeded players who are awarded first-round byes are guaranteed at least $16,000—regardless of how they fare in their opening matches.
First-round participants who are one-and-done will still come away with $11,000.
It remains to be seen whether prize money at Indian Wells will continue its ascent in the coming years, but regardless, the location (two hours outside of Los Angeles) and the purse will continue to attract the world's best players and lure tennis fans.
With the event spanning two weeks and featuring upgraded facilities, perhaps it's only a matter of time before it becomes tennis' fifth Slam.
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