Some economists and sports marketing executives, though, consider that the club’s motive for keeping prices low isn’t as benevolent as Southern gentility. As an alternative, they think that the club, whose members include titans of finance and industry, may deliberately use low-cost concessions to construct a sense of an earlier, less capitalistic era in sports — and the aura that has made the Masters brand amongst essentially the most revered and priceless in sports.
John A. List, a professor of economics on the University of Chicago who has attended the Masters, has said that Augusta National’s strategy amounts to wanting to “shock and awe you on the low side.”
Even after 2022’s assorted hikes, the costs are actually still low. The costliest item is a $6 chardonnay, and a lunch of an egg salad sandwich, a bag of potato chips (plain or barbecue) and a soft drink totals $5. Patrons, because the club refers back to the fans who crowd along the fairways, have been more prone to notice a menu item that vanished — just like the Georgia peach ice cream sandwich, formerly sold for $2 — due to the provision chain, than their expenditures of just a few extra quarters.
“We have now had some modest price increases,” Fred S. Ridley, Augusta National’s chairman, said on Wednesday, when he acknowledged that supply-chain troubles had also affected construction projects. “I feel that the majority, if not everyone, would say there’s great value in our concessions, so we’re very comfortable with that.”
The funds of Augusta National, a personal club, are opaque, with the club not even saying what number of general admission passes it sells for as much as $115 on competition days, when some estimates have pegged crowds at about 40,000. Nevertheless it has shown a willingness over time to weather the more peculiar trends of inflation. Had Augusta been keeping pace, and assuming the pimento cheese sandwich was priced appropriately in 2003, the sandwich would have been about $2.14 at around this time last yr, before steeper inflation began.
Tied to inflation or not, Augusta was perhaps due for some price increases. Although the pimento cheese sandwich’s price, long memorialized in newspaper accounts of the tournament, held regular for this yr, the club has not recently gone so long without nudging it higher. In 2003, when the worth climbed to $1.50, the $1.25 standard had been in effect since just 1999. And when that price took hold, it was after only five years of $1 sandwiches.
However the economic environment now, Summers suggested, gave Augusta “more need, more cover and more opportunity to lift prices than any yr within the last 40.”