At the concessions stand

April, 7, 2011
04/07/11
3:57
PM ET

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The people who run sporting events almost make it impossible to love sports: $7 hot dogs and $9 beers, and 25 bucks to park, maybe more. It's an assault of advertising, this formerly real moment now brought to you by blah-blah-blah, bombarding you with things to buy and grossly overcharging you for them, all the while taking huge tax breaks and using public money, essentially charging you for the privilege of buying a flat, overpriced soda at a flat, overpriced game. Which is just another one of the many reasons why the Masters rocks.

The uber-rich old dudes who run this thing don't need your money. They've got plenty of their own, enough to pay dues here, to buy shell corporations and yachts, and fill accounts in Switzerland and Grand Cayman, and New York and London and Rome. They need money to establish trust funds, and service Gulfstreams, to keep a flat in Paris and a condo in Aspen, to pay lobbyists and maybe grease a politician or two. But they don't need to get that money from their golf tournament.

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Masters Chicken Biscuit
Wright Thompson/ESPN Breakfast

So … there are no ads on the course. Not one. There aren't corporate villages groaning under the weight of logos. I've heard they leave television money on the table to guarantee control. And, best of all, the concessions are cheap. Really, really cheap. I walked through a stand just a bit ago. You could buy one of every single item in the place for $50.75. Check it:

Domestic beers are $3. Imports are $3.75. Coffee is a dollar. Soft drinks are $1.50. Pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches are $1.50. Ham and cheese, or turkey and cheese, are $2. Candy costs a dollar. Your choices are: Snickers, regular or peanut M&Ms, and Payday bars. Moon Pies are two for a dollar. Seriously, one of every single thing, just over $50.

Here's a picture of the "salad" I had for breakfast. It was a very healthy salad.

It cost $1.50.

Wright Thompson | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Wright Thompson (@wrightthompson) is a senior writer for ESPN.com and The Magazine. He has been featured in seven editions of Best American Sports Writing and lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
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