...Or to put it less delicately, how much money does Augusta National net annually to allow them to constantly upgrade facilities, offer fair ticket prices and keep their telecast the most watchable by a longshot, all while tucking away a few Benjamins to some day do some much-needed tree relocation work (The Ghost of Bobby Jones can always dream, right)?
For the first time since 1997, Ron Sirak and Golf Digest attempt to tabulate just how much the Masters brings in and what the club ultimately nets. As always, I urge you to hit the link or read your hard copy to see the then-and-now numbers, but a few points worth noting...
In all, the Masters will generate about $115 million in revenue this year, according to Golf Digest reporting, more than a five-fold increase from the $22 million the magazine estimated in 1997 for the previous year's Masters.
Astoundingly, Sirak says that is without getting carried away with ticket prices or taking more than a 65% markup on merchandise or taking in real television rights money, the club still does incredibly well.
"After the Masters, CBS sends an invoice to Augusta National, and they check it out and get the money from their corporate partners to cover production costs," says the source.
That means that IBM, AT&T and Mercedes-Benz pay about $6 million to $8 million each in exchange for four minutes of advertising time per hour—about one-third of the commercial interruptions of other sporting events. Rolex and UPS are the corporate partners for the international broadcast. "If they ever opened up the [domestic TV] bidding, it would absolutely be worth more than the U.S. Open, but that's never going to happen," said the source, referring to the $93-million-a-year, 12-year deal the USGA signed with Fox Sports in 2013. "There was talk back when the Masters went without sponsors during the Martha Burk controversy [2003-'04] that it might go to pay-per-view," the source said. "If they did, they could get $100 for the weekend and get two million to three million buys. Do the math on that. But they're never going to leave CBS."
Oh charge 'em a little Mr. Payne. The nine CSI's are raking in big bucks.
Those estimates would bring net revenue to $48.4 million. Even if Augusta National paid the highest tax rate of 39.6 percent, the tax bill would be $19.2 million, leaving a profit of $29.2 million (versus $7 million in the 1997 Golf Digest report).