The Masters will turn a hearty, estimated profit of at least $30 million this year. However, that’s just a portion of how much revenue Augusta National takes in from sales at the Masters.
Golf Digest estimates Augusta National pulled in $115 million from the 2015 Masters. Subtracting the costs of food, merchandise, the purse, maintenance, taxes and other times — about $86 million — that leaves the bottom line for the seven-day event. That profit figure is four times what Digest estimated in 1997, the year of Tiger Woods’ first of four Masters wins.
However, Augusta National could make a lot more money from the Masters if they chose to do so.
So how does the club make money and where does it leave some on the table?
Patrons: Weekly badges run a very affordable $325, still low compared to its major peers despite a $75 increase in 2012. Some 300,000 people are estimated to come on the grounds during tournament week. Most would pay triple that price or more for the privilege of coming to the Masters.
Corporate hospitality: The Masters has never sold out space on the course to display corporate logos, shielding patrons from anything other than the club imagery. Augusta National quietly makes up for that money with unmatched corporate hospitality at the 100,000-square-foot, two-year-old Berckmans Place off the fifth hole and hidden hospitality next to the 10th hole. Berckmans Place holds up to 2,000 people, has five restaurants, an exclusive merchandise shop and replicas of three greens on the course. Admission to Berckmans Place for the week runs at least $8,000 per person. They could charge more. They could also command fees to display corporate logos through the grounds, and they refuse.
Concessions and merchandise: Prices are incredibly reasonable, with sandwiches still running less than $4, and probably a break-even line item. Merchandise is sold at a modest 65 percent mark-up.
Television rights: The telecast is rarely interrupted, with key domestic sponsors paying up to $8 million each toward the break-even TV production for the club, CBS and ESPN, which has the rights to weekday coverage. Both broadcast the tournament on one-year contracts with the club. A source told Golf Digest that Augusta National could command well north of the $93 million annual rights fee the USGA will get from Fox Sports for its championships, led by the U.S. Open. In exchange for a handshake-type relationship with its broadcast partners, Augusta National has total say over the tournament telecast.
The club takes the annual profit and puts it back into facilities, including the construction of Berckmans, the world-class practice facility, land to expand facilities and more. It’s expected to demolish the current permanent media building in lieu of on-site housing for members and Masters competitors. It also gives generously to support the game’s development, including to The First Tee, the LPGA’s Girls Golf initiative, hosting the Drive, Chip and Putt competition, as well creating and running both the Asia Pacific and Latin America Amateur Championships.