The 2023 Masters Tournament kicks off today, bringing together everyone at the center of the Venn diagram of “people who love golf” and “people who love spending thousands of dollars on golf.” In addition to watching the most boring sport in the world, tournament attendees will be treated to another perk: ultra-cheap concessions.
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Attending the Masters, which runs until Sunday, April 9, is pricey. If you can snag tickets from the official website, daily grounds passes are $140 and a weekly pass costs $450. From there, the secondary market does its thing. As of this writing, a measly grounds ticket on StubHub will cost you $5,055.
You might expect the food and drinks to be comparably pricey at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, where the Masters takes place. But instead, the most expensive item on the concessions menu is a $6 glass of wine. In fact, unlike many other sporting events, concessions only make up 5% of the tournament’s annual revenue, according to Forbes.
Front Office Sports tweeted a picture of this year’s offerings, which include an egg salad ($1.50), a pimento cheese sandwich ($1.50), a masters club ($3), and more. No food item exceeds $3, and you could buy everything on the menu for $66.
While many venues depend on concessions revenue, given how expensive it is to go golfing at the Augusta National (regardless of whether a tournament is happening), taking a hit on the food isn’t much of a loss for the club. Augusta charges an estimated upfront $40,000 membership fee, with thousands of dollars in annual dues, according to Golf.com—and this amount is said to be “relatively low for a club of its stature.”
Victor Matheson, economics professor at College of the Holy Cross, has a theory as to why the concessions are inexpensive. “For the vast majority of businesses, we assume business owners are profit maximizers, which means they are in the business of squeezing every last dollar they can out of their customers,” Matheson told MarketWatch. “In sports, we don’t necessarily see that.”
Matheson speculates that the low costs buy loyalty from the golf club’s ultra-wealthy clientele, and they also add an extra appeal to the Masters. The cheap prices become a talking point every year.
And you know what? I think it’s wrong. The food should cost a lot at the Masters. First of all, it can be reasonably assumed that a lot of attendees aren’t tipping, and the $1.50 price tag on a pimento cheese sandwich only further enables the worst people in the world to stiff the workers. Second, I don’t think golf club members should be left with more money in their pocket to bribe the police department when little Brayden or whoever gets a DUI. But I guess Augusta feels an obligation to reward anyone willing to watch the world’s sleepiest sport for hours on end.