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Billionaire Larry Ellison Is Trying To Remake Tennis In America

Larry Ellison is trying to rejuvenate the sport in the U.S., ten million dollars at a time

Jun 05, 2015 at 10:50 AM ET

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, who has already used some of his billions ot help reinvent America’s Cup sailing, is now out to do the same for tennis in America. In 2009, Ellison, the seventh-richest man in the world, paid $100 million for the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament and its facilities in Southern California’s Indian Wells. Since then, he has invested another $100 million in the event, making it one of the world’s top tennis venues and tournaments, reported Bloomberg Business.

He has transformed the facilities, boosted the event’s prestiege, and made it a hangout for the tour’s top players, inlcuidng Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. In 2013, Ellison added an 8,000-seat venue to Indian Wells’ existing 16,000-person stadium. According to Bloomberg, in March of this year the tournament brought in 456,000 spectators—an attendance beyond that of the French Open and comparable to Wimbledon. To help entice the best players, Ellison also upped the prize money by $4 million to $11 million.

“I think we simply have to do something to improve the quality of American tennis,” Ellison told Bloomberg. Without a professional sports team to his name despite his absurd wealth, Ellison has his sights set on changing the sport of tennis—and will pay for it.

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Larry Ellison Is Spending A Fortune To Save American Tennis (Bloomberg Business)
Study: The Higher The Pay, The Worse The CEO (Vocativ)