Masters badge resale value spikes

Tiger Woods' re-emergence in the golf world, combined with Augusta National's close proximity to the Final Four, has created the perfect storm in the Masters ticket market that could result in the highest prices paid for the major in 16 years.

Those wanting last-minute badges for the four-day tournament were looking at paying more than $7,000 for each badge on the resale market on Monday morning.

And it's not only for tournament days.

A ticket for Tuesday's practice round, which have a face value of $50 for those lucky enough to either be patrons of Augusta National or get the tickets through the lottery, are now selling for nearly $1,000. In fact, one ticket sold for $1,083 on Stubhub on Sunday.

"I have never seen anything like this," said Patrick McGee, whose sports and entertainment marketing firm has taken care of corporate clients in Augusta for the Past decade. "It's the combination of the Final Four being in Atlanta, Tiger as well as a more stringent effort by Augusta National to make it tougher to scalp tickets."

There's nothing in all of sports like the Masters ticket market because it's the only big event in which tickets are distributed instead of being sold to the general public.

Since Augusta National cares more for tradition than the almighty dollar, it distributes four-day badges to those close to the club and community at a price well below market value: $250.

Scott Jernigan, executive vice preisdent of Premiere Global Sports, a sports hospitality company based in Raleigh, N.C., has been working the Masters ticket business for the past 19 years.

"It's the first time I've seen prices at this level since 1997," Jernigan said.

That's the last time prices soared above $7,000. Some badges sold for as much as $11,000 each as people wanted to see the new kid on the block, Woods, who went on to win the event for his first major championship.

"The similarity between that year and this year is that more people have bought tickets than the number of actual tickets available," Jernigan said.

Individuals and companies have sold hospitality packages that include lodging, transportation and a ticket, but many of those companies have factored in getting badges at a wholesale price of around $1,000, Jernigan said.

"The ticket always spikes a bit, but there's always a sense that demand will be filled," Jernigan said. "Not this year. If the people who are selling the hospitality packages don't pay the price they need to pay to get the badges, they have to cancel their entire business."

The lowest asking price for the 18 four-day badges available on Stubhub on Monday morning was $10,001.

Tickets for the Tuesday and Wednesday practice rounds, which usually are resold for between $150 and $250 a day, are getting a boost from the fact that corporate types are already in town thanks to the Final Four. It's only a two-hour drive from Atlanta, where the championship game is being played Monday night, to Augusta.

"It's the chance to go to two bucket list items on back to back days," Jernigan said.

"I think a lot of people thought the price being paid for the practice rounds would go down," McGee said. "But the market stayed high primarily because people thought it would be lower and planned to come on those days."

Those who do pay to get in to the Masters can take some solace in the concession prices. A pimiento cheese sandwich still costs $1.50.