Larry Ellison Is Spending a Fortune to Save American Tennis
Amid a devastating drought, the Southern California town of Indian Wells seems like it should perhaps be illegal. Left alone, the ground here is baked and cracked and the same color brown as the barren mountains that surround this enclave of 5,000, many of whom are wealthy, white, and retired. But there aren’t that many spots where the ground remains in its natural state. Indian Wells is a vacation paradise full of resorts with luscious green golf courses, vibrant flower gardens, and abundant pools. Some resorts even have sandy beach wading areas for the grandchildren. The weather is perfect eight months of the year.
In 2011, Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, paid $43 million for Porcupine Creek, a 249-acre estate here. Visitors sign a nondisclosure agreement to get past the armed guard and front gate. Once inside, they find an exquisitely maintained 18-hole golf course decorated with sculptures of naked women lounging among pink and purple tropical flowers, a “slidetacular” pool, and a Bellagio-worthy fountain that shoots water into the air when cars approach. These diversions surround a 27-room residence reminiscent of an Italian villa. Each year, Ellison’s architect adds another signature feature to the estate to keep him from getting bored.
Ellison comes to Porcupine Creek for at least two weeks in mid-March to take in the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 20 minutes away. Ellison is worth an estimated $47 billion, making him the world’s seventh-wealthiest person. He bought the tournament and its facilities for $100 million in 2009 and since then has invested another $100 million, improving the event year-after-year. Indian Wells, as it’s commonly known, has become one of the world’s premier tennis venues, attracting top players from both the men’s and women’s professional tours and, this March, 456,000 fans. That’s more than will attend the French Open, which ends on June 7, and rivals the draw of Wimbledon. It’s been dubbed the “fifth Grand Slam” and has become the model of how a tournament can be profitable while offering lavish perks to players and fans. To read more of the original article Click Here.