Indian Wells goes global with French bank

California's prestigious Indian Wells tennis tournament will be known as the BNP Paribas Open from this year after organisers agreed a five-year deal with the French bank.

BNP Paribas OpenLength of contract: 5 years | Annualised value: US$1.2 million | Overall value: US$6 million

California's prestigious Indian Wells tennis tournament will be known as the BNP Paribas Open from this year after organisers agreed a five-year deal with the French bank.

The agreement, which includes an option for a further five years should BNP Paribas choose to extend, adds the tournament to a number of others sponsored by the bank, including the French Open - the world's premier competition on clay - and the Davis Cup.

Only the four Grand Slam tournaments - Wimbledon and the French, Australian and US Opens - drew larger crowds than Indian Wells last year.

Equal prizes of US$4.5 million will be offered to the men's and women's champions of this year's competition.

"We are thrilled to have BNP Paribas as the new title sponsor of our event," said tournament chairman Charlie Pasarell.

"During this partnership, we believe we will guide our tournament to greater heights, both in terms of attendance and global appeal."

His colleague Ray Moore added that the tournament's decision to part company with previous sponsors Pacific Life had been made "with trepidation".

"We needed to get the credit, financially, for the international-based audience we brought," he added.