Bunker Mentality

Why tickets to see the Masters at Augusta are sport’s most expensive

Bunker Mentality

View gallery

.

Golf's first Major championship of the season tees off at Augusta next week - but if you want to get out there and watch the action, you'd better take your wallet.

And your other wallet. And your piggy bank, and the contents of those savings accounts you set up for your kids, because a day at Augusta is officially the most expensive ticket in the whole of sports.

A survey in the Atlanta Constitution newspaper reports that the going rate for a day ticket to watch the first day of the golf will cost you a staggering £1,182.

By contrast, the cheapest seats for the last Super Bowl went for £562. And yes, that is the face value.

View gallery

.

By comparison, tickets to watch Andy Murray play in the Wimbledon final last year were £120 face value - though they sold on the black market for as much as £32,000 a pair, or 150 times that. No wonder 4,000 fans camped out in Wimbledon Park for two days last summer to get the publicly released ones.

View gallery

.

Tickets for this year's FA Cup final start at shockingly low £35 face value (though there are precious few available at that price), while Champions League final tickets will start at £60 this year.

View gallery

.

Tickets to the first day of the Ashes at Trent Bridge will set you back £70, while tickets to see golf's Open Championship at Muirfield this summer will cost £65.

View gallery

.

These figures are slightly flattering to Augusta National, however. Masters tickets don't have a comparable face value, but they do have a nominal face value.

That value is a paltry £50; so why are we saying that they cost more than that? Simply because it's literally impossible to buy them at that price, and has been for decades.

Augusta National Golf Club started selling tickets on a subscription basis decades ago, with golf fans and local residents able to put their names on a register to be offered tickets every year on a first-come-first-served basis.

The problem is that those lists filled up well over 40 years ago - and even the waiting lists were closed over 30 years ago. Not that anybody ever comes off the waiting list: spots on the ticket list can be transferred, and are handed down in families like precious heirlooms.

The net result is that the face value printed on Masters tickets is as meaningless as the 'cash value=0.000001p' you see printed on supermarket vouchers.

Fans who want to watch the golf are therefore forced to go into the black market, which - in contrast to British sports - is openly tolerated in America. Those lucky enough to get their tickets simply sell them on as soon as they get them - and considering that a £200 week-long season ticket fetches nearly £2,700 on the street.

View gallery

.
It's not all bad news, however: last year the club started a ballot to sell a handful of practice day tickets (which normally fetch between £250 and £800) at face value, so even the less well-heeled might still get a chance to walk the hallowed fairways without spending a fortune.

And once you're inside the grounds, it's as cheap as any sports event you could wish for: a beer in a Masters-branded plastic cup costs less than £2, while you can get a sandwich in green Masters-branded wrapping for £1!

View Comments