The tennis tournament that has positioned itself as the next-best thing to the four majors on the tour calendar took another step to solidify that status Tuesday.
The BNP Paribas Open, the Indian Wells event that gives Southern California an annual claim as host to all the sport's stars, announced that it would pay both men's and women's singles champions $1 million. That will make it the first combined men's and women's tour event to do so. The four Grand Slams, which are run by the International Tennis Federation rather than the ATP and WTA tours, pay seven-figure prizes to the winner, as do each tour's season-ending championships.
In four years, the Indian Wells tournament's purse has grown from total prize money of $5.835 million in 2008 to $11.073 million next spring.
According to tournament director Steve Simon, prize money has been increased across the board, in both singles and doubles. Losers in the men's and women's singles finals will receive $500,000, semifinalists will be guaranteed $200,000 and quarterfinalists will be guaranteed $100,000.