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The BNP Paribas Open kicks off, fans react to its return

The 2021 BNP Paribas Open starts today as fans from all over come together to see some of tennis' greatest stars serve it up on the court. The tournament will run from Oct. 4 to Oct. 17. 

It's been nearly two and half years since the last BNP Paribas Open in the Coachella Valley. Eager tennis fans finally get to experience the tennis paradise at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden once again. Tennis paradise is nothing without its fans.

"I want to be inspired. I want to see if it looks and feels different here versus just seeing it on TV," said Valerie McPherson who came from San Diego. "The friendly faces, all the food, the bars with all the drinks it just reminded me of being at Disneyland only it's not. This is the real deal. This is real people, you know, battling out their craft."

Claire Milburn is from San Luis Obispo, she's been coming to the open for 20 years.

"You know, partly it's about friends to come in with friends and seeing friends here and reconnecting again," said Milburn. 

Fans get to explore the different amenities at the venue from lots of photo opportunities to table tennis and corn hole. However, some have plans for outside the venue. 

"Every time I visit the valley, I discover a new hiking spot new you know, a new oasis, new restaurants, and it never ceases to amaze me," said McPherson. 

Not only is tennis paradise coming back to life but the valley along with it after the hard hits from the pandemic. Some of the local restaurants within the venue are excited to make up for their losses by serving the countless fans here.

Fresh Agave is one of the local restaurants within the venue. It was able to hire more staff to fully open within the venue.  One of the managers said he expects a 40% to 60% increase in sales.

"It's great exposure as well, there's a lot of international guests here," said co-manager of Fresh Agave Uriel Gonzalez. "So it helps build the brand out even more. People get to see how local cuisine is here."

Even though the demand is here, the supply doesn't always match. Piero's Pizzavino originally had a big dine-in space above Stadium 2, but it couldn't find enough workers to open it. They could only open their smaller shop under Stadium 1. However, their executive chef said the advertising alone is worth being here for.

"So people is getting to know us more and every time they come, they're looking for this restaurant here," Piero's Pizzavino executive chef Erick Rivera. "We're getting more and more customers over [at our El Paseo restaurant] as well."

The local restaurants hope the exposure ultimately drives more people to their restaurants outside of the venue. Helping them bounce back from the pandemic even more. 

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.


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