SBD/Issue 120/Events & Attractions

Masters Of Their Domain: Augusta National Finances Examined

Augusta National Profiting
With Annual Masters Event

Augusta National Golf Club "generates nearly $44[M] in revenue and still has more than $6[M] left over after its expenses" from hosting The Masters, according to GOLF DIGEST's Ron Sirak. While sources indicated that the "overhead for a U.S. Open or a PGA Championship is about $30[M]," Sirak notes it is "likely less than that for the Masters" and pegs tournament expenses at $20M. While the club does not announce attendance figures, sources said that about 35,000 ticket-holders attend each of the four days of competition, and about 45,000 attend each of the three practice days. Sirak notes prices were raised this year for the third time since '95, with a four-day badge increasing from $125 to $175, "still about half the cost of a seven-day pass for the U.S. Open or the PGA Championship." Augusta National will generate about $10.5M this year in ticket revenue, with the "price hike [making] up about $3.1[M] of the nearly $7[M] in [TV] fees and production costs that the tournament lost when it released IBM, Coca-Cola and Citigroup as sponsors." Also, assuming that 275,000 patrons buy "two sandwiches, two beers, a soda and an ice cream for a total of $9.50," Augusta earns another $2.6M in concession revenue. Additionally, 100,000 of the 170,000 ticket holders spending $200 on souvenirs would mean $20M in merchandise sales, not including $500,000 in program sales. Additionally, one industry source said of the $10M in int'l TV rights fees coming primarily from the BBC and Tokyo Broadcasting System: "The Masters has always gotten far less from domestic TV rights than it could. But the $5[M] it gets from CBS is only about one-third its total broadcasting revenue" (GOLF DIGEST, 4/'04 issue).

LOOKING UP: In DC, Barker Davis notes CBS will again feature live, commercial-free coverage of The Masters. Augusta National Chair Hootie Johnson indicated that the club's finances "are so strong that the commercial-free arrangement could continue in perpetuity." Davis reports corporate hospitality in and around Augusta "is also posting a strong resurgence." Last year's Masters was affected by NCWO Chair Martha Burk's protest and the war in Iraq, but "companies both big and small again are quickly reserving accommodations, high-end meals and entertainment for key executives and clients" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/12).

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