Updated: May 29, 2015
BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament - Purchasing Tickets:There is nothing better than attending the BNP Paribas Open and watching over 10 hours of tennis action during the middle of the tournament. I have been attending this event for years and find that it's hard to beat the dollar value on a per ticket basis. Sure you can attend an ATP tennis tournament in your neck of the woods (if they have any) and pay $50 or more for a decent seat and perhaps get to watch 2 or 3 matches. The unique things about Grand Slam tennis events and the BNP Paribas tournament is that during the first few rounds of the event there are literally 5-10 courts with matches going on at the same time. With a general admission (grounds pass) you can go and watch whatever match you want to and then get up and leave to another match if you prefer. For $30/ticket, I watch about 6 matches a day at the Pacific Life Tennis event and spend over 10 hours a day on site. The tennis is top rated and all the best players in the world show up. Which tickets offer you the best value? When should you buy them? We offer answers to all those pertinent questions down below.
The options for tickets are plentiful and you can get a combination ticket which lets you get into the main stadium (Stadium 1) and outside courts as well. The one drawback to buying tickets to the main stadium court is that your tickets will leave you wishing you were closer. The main stadium is 2nd in size only to the US Open stadium so seats near the top will require good eyesight to follow the match. If you are desperate to see the top Americans or someone like Roger Federer or Maria Sharapova, then you will be forced to purchase tickets into the main stadium at Indian Wells. I have found that the outer courts offer up some competitive tennis with many of the top players in the world as well. The big plus of watching matches on the outside courts (even in Stadium 2 and 3) is that you are much closer to the action. In some cases you are courtside and on the same level as the players. If you do purchase tickets into the main stadium see the seating chart and map down below so you know what you are getting into. The seats lower down are hard to buy and aren't sold if you are just looking to buy daily tickets for the early days of the tournament. The box seats are sold as package deals and require a bigger commitment.
For a birds eye view of the entire Indian Wells Tennis Garden, see the map in PDF format online HERE. Stadium 1 holds thousands of spectators and is where the largest matches are held. If you view the PDF file you will notice Stadium 2 which is smaller but still holds a few thousand people when full and Stadium 3 is even smaller than 2. You will also find tennis matches on Courts 4, 5, 6, and sometimes on 7 and 8 as well. Matches start at roughly 11 AM each day and go well into the night. Some courts fill up and you'll find standing room only when a match heats up and goes into the 3rd round. The outer courts are more intimate and offer the purest experience of watching a tennis match up close.
Tickets/Packages:Ticket prices range from a low of $18 for the evening sessions early on at the event and max out at over $100 for the semi-finals and finals. Of course the better seats you purchase in the main stadium the more expensive they get. You can also buy reserved seats for Stadium 2 and 3 which allows you to sit in the first 4 or 5 rows (putting you on the court almost). You can buy tickets online HERE. Tickets go on sale around November each year and it's a good idea to buy early. This year at the event, I actually saw that on the first Sunday the tickets had sold out. This means if you showed up at the gate and wanted to buy tickets, you were turned away. If you plan on sticking around all day and want to watch matches in the main stadium, then consider the Daily Double ticket offer which gives you the same seat in Stadium 1 all day long and still allows you to go to the outside courts if there are other matches you want to see. In general, people are moving around all day long trying to watch the best match at the time. As I mentioned above, the general admission ticket for $30 is a great deal. The outside courts are loaded with talented players. There are some package deals with hotels and Steve Furgals tennis tours in which you get a hotel room and tickets to various dates and sessions at the event. I have found these discounts to be minimal and they also limit where you can stay.
TIPS and SECRETS It can be extremely hot in the month of March down in the desert, so be prepared to sit in the sun most of the day with temperatures exceeding 80 degrees. Try to sit on the side of the stadium with the sun to your back to avoid direct exposure to the sunlight. As the sun moves, move with it to help limit the hours you spend in the direct sun. Bring lots of sunblock and wear a large hat to avoid sunstroke and sunburns. The seats in these stadiums are mostly bleacher seating, so bring along a padded seat or towel to sit on. Your butt will thank you at the end of the day. Also, don't forget to stand up and stretch in between games (many people do) to keep your body loose and the blood flowing. Try to get to the courts early since seating is almost all first come first serve on the outer courts.