Some economists and sports marketing executives, however, believe the club’s motive for keeping prices low is not as benevolent as Southern gentry. Instead, they believe the club, whose members include titans of finance and industry, may deliberately use cheap concessions to create a sense of an earlier, less capitalistic era in the sport – and the aura that has made the Masters brand one of the most revered and treasured in sport.
John A. List, an economics professor at the University of Chicago who took the master’s degree, said Augusta National’s strategy comes down to wanting to “shock and amaze you on the low side.”
Even after the various increases in 2022, prices are certainly still low. The most expensive item is a $6 Chardonnay, and a lunch of an egg salad sandwich, a bag of chips (plain or BBQ), and a soft drink totals $5. Customers, as the club refers to fans thronging the fairways, have been more likely to notice a menu item that has disappeared — like the Georgia peach ice cream sandwich, once sold for $2 — because of the supply chain, that their spending a few extra quarters.
“We’ve had some modest price increases,” Fred S. Ridley, president of Augusta National, said Wednesday when he acknowledged that supply chain issues have also affected construction projects. “I think most, if not everyone, would say that our concessions have great value, so we’re very comfortable with that.”
The finances of Augusta National, a private club, are opaque, with the club not even saying how many general admission passes it sells for up to $115 on competition days, while some estimates have pegged crowds at about 40,000. But over the years it has shown a willingness to resist the more ordinary tendencies of inflation. If Augusta had kept pace, and assuming the pimento cheese sandwich was priced appropriately in 2003, the sandwich would have been around $2.14 around the same time last year before the start of the season. higher inflation.
Inflation-related or not, Augusta may have been due to price increases. Although the price of the Chilli Cheese Sandwich, long memorialized in newspaper accounts of the tournament, has held steady this year, the club hasn’t gone that long without pushing it higher. In 2003, when the price jumped to $1.50, the $1.25 norm had only been in effect since 1999. And when that price took hold, it was after just five years of sandwiches at 1 $.
But the current economic environment, Summers suggested, has given Augusta “more need, more coverage and more opportunity to raise prices than any year in the last 40 years.”