Indian Wells tourney changes name

Updated: January 15, 2009, 8:10 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- The Indian Wells tournament, which annually draws most of the world's top men and women tennis players, has new financial backing and a new name.

Formerly the Pacific Life Open, the event now will be the BNP Paribas Open, with the title sponsor a France-based bank that's one of the largest in the world. BNP Paribas has long-standing sponsorship ties to tennis, including the French Open, Davis Cup and Fed Cup.

The new name will be used for the tournament on March 9-22 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The attendance for the two-week event last year was 330,000, ranking it behind only the four Grand Slam tournaments.

Organizers of the Indian Wells tournament also announced that equal purses of $4.5 million each will be offered to the men and women for the first time.

The event began in 1976 and first included both men's and women's fields 20 years ago.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press