Masters and Augusta National Sandwich Economics

Augusta, Georgia — One day this week, Jose Maria Orazabal hit a tee shot on the 12th hole of the Augusta National Golf Club, jokingly bowed to the crowd and winding towards the green of one of the big golf holes.

Many of the galleries quickly headed to the kiosk in the Armen Corner, one of the big bargains in sports. Here, Masters fans offer sandwiches, soft drinks, cookies and other meals for just $ 5.

Well-known management clubs have spent decades accepting that they can’t really control the weather. However, the economic power surrounding the tournament is so reasonable that the price of the Pimento cheese sandwich has been $ 1.50 since 2003. If you adjust the inflation and assume the sandwich was reasonably priced from the beginning, it should be around $ 2.14.

Economists believe that the lasting bargains that are incompatible with the era of sticker shock prices at many athletic events are not just a matter of Southern hospitality. Instead, they see a hard nose, soft power genius. It’s a frugal way to foster the mystery that helped make the Masters brand one of the most valuable in sports.

John A. List, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, mentioned Augusta National’s co-founder: “They want to bring you back to the days of Bobby Jones. If so, the good old days. It’s an era. ” “They don’t follow prices and understand that their real bottom line is for years. I think they deliberately don’t follow inflation or the economy. That makes the message even stronger. I will. “

“Economically,” said Liszt, who attended the Masters in 2019. “I really thought it was great.”

Augusta National may be the most famous place for cheap concessions, but it may offer a wide range of lessons to the sports industry. Georgia has emerged as a case study with moderate living expenses and high wattage sporting events. The Atlanta Falcons, about 145 miles west, cut prices when they moved to Mercedes-Benz Stadium a few years ago. Recognizing that most of the NFL’s money comes from media rights contracts and ticket sales, the franchise has been exposed to positive news coverage and ultimately more spending by fans.

The concept slowly spread throughout the sport. A team of experts such as the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and Charlotte Hornets have developed their own fan-friendly concession pricing initiative. This drew the audience to the stadium faster and encouraged others to join first.

At Augusta National, reducing the cost of Pimento cheese by 50 cents to $ 1 would be a reversion to the first president, President George Bush. Clubs that wrap sandwiches in green packaging and blend into the course are unlikely to go in the opposite direction and spike prices, which abandons the long-hidden strategy in terms of tenderness and soundness. Means

Billy Payne, who served as club president for 11 years, said in 2007: “We want an affordable experience as well as the best experience. We take certain things very seriously, such as the cost of Pimento cheese. Sandwiches are the high of the second cut. As important as. “

Fred S. Ridley, Payne’s successor, also said Augusta National’s goal was to provide food “at a reasonable price.”

Ridley said the low price of sandwiches “adds a sense”, but didn’t specify which one he liked. (“I like them all, but keep them away.”)

Of course, people will still eat. But, as the list suggests, the outlook for higher returns is arguably out of the question in the minds of Augusta National’s green jacket members, who are often business and political giants. According to experts, the quarters remaining on the table represent some kind of investment, in good harmony with the spirit of the club and state.

“They want to shock and awe you on the low side, and they were able to double, triple or quadruple the price,” he headed for the Chicago White Sox match this week. When the list said. “I would have noticed and thought it was normal, and I don’t want the Masters to do the general thing.”

The exact amount to pass Augusta National is unknown and is a multi-million dollar mystery that meets the club’s privacy tradition, which has long faced racist and sexist accusations.

Augusta National will sell a number of tickets for $ 75 on practice rounds and $ 115 on competition days, and how many tickets will be sold by fans of apparently not-priced merchandise by buying them in clear plastic bags and carrying them around. I haven’t said about it. The television contract with CBS has long been a series of one-year contracts that are not considered to be of great benefit to either the network or the club. Only a handful of good sponsors have been accepted, and Ridley said this week that the club will donate proceeds from its new video game partnership with EA Sports to a foundation that promotes golf.

And Augusta National is not afraid to use the food when heading across the gate. This year, fans were able to deliver a few pounds of Masters dishes such as pimento cheese, pork and chocolate chip cookies to the front door. The $ 150 package included 25 dishwasher-safe plastic cups, the tournament’s best souvenirs.

But no matter what Augusta’s finances look like, the simplicity of the club’s menu will almost certainly help. In addition to the pimento cheese served between the two white breads, there is a $ 1.50 egg salad sandwich. This year, a new sandwich, brioche bread chicken salad, is available for $ 3. The most expensive selection on the menu is beer, which is offered in green plastic cups for as little as $ 5.

From backyard gatherings to black tie weddings, Pimento Cheese, a staple of Southern events, has been on the Augusta National menu since the early days and is the most famous of the club’s cuisine.

Cookbook author Nathalie Dupree, a prominent Southern chef, said the mayonnaise acid acted as a preservative, paving the way for golf fans to grab sandwiches in their pockets or purses for hours. Under the warm spring sun of Georgia.

“It’s a kind of southern genius that they’re trying to find a sandwich for the heat,” Dupley said. “You always avoid the heat, especially before the air conditioner.”

Sandwiches were prominent in tournament newspaper articles by the 1970s. This was also when Augusta’s Junior League published the recipe book “Tea Time at the Masters.” The club’s Pimento cheese recipe was not included, but it did include a step-by-step guide to Christian cheese pastes made from cheddar, cream cheese, and pimento cheese.

The woman who submitted it? “Mrs. Arnold Palmer”, Winifred Palmer, whose husband had already won four Masters titles by that time.

“Especially my mother loved Augusta’s Pimento cheese sandwich,” said Amy Palmer Sanders, chair of the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation. “She would have enjoyed trying something like that in the kitchen.”

Players also worship food that is simple in itself.

2012 and 2014 winner Bubba Watson prefers barbecue and pimento cheese sandwiches, brings egg salad to club staff, and adds more pork when ordering a trio known as the Masters flavor. I said I asked. And before winning last year’s tournament, Dustin Johnson briefly declared, “My favorite Masters is sandwiches.”

Walking the course this week is always a chance to hear someone pondering what they want to eat. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, cashiers are waiting to accept only credit or debit cards.

“They make the dreams you have,” said Liszt, who described Augusta’s approach as “his glorious Adam Smith.”

“I think it’s a wonderland when you watch it on TV,” he said of the course. “And Disney looks like a wonderland until you put it in your wallet.”

Masters and Augusta National Sandwich Economics

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