By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
March 2, 2012
Anyone watching John Isner battle now-friendly rival Nicolas Mahut can clearly see that size matters – a concept very well understood by community and business leaders in California’s Coachella Valley. The Valley, and more specifically, Indian Wells, is the longtime site of the biggest tennis tournament in the world outside of the four Majors.
In 2011, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and surrounds attracted more than 350,000 attendees throughout the two week span of the BNP Paribas Open, pumping a record $289 million into the region’s economy, according to a study conducted by George Washington University. And with the gradually-improving global economy, tournament director Steve Simon is hoping to improve on that number in 2012.
Local charities benefit as well. Days before the tournament begins, La Quinta Resort and Club hosts the K-Swiss Desert Smash, bringing together Hollywood stars and tennis legends to benefit Variety the Children’s Charity, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of the Coachella Valley’s neediest children. This year’s event will feature Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, actor Christian Slater, and many more.