clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tiger Woods’ withdrawal sparks drop in Masters ticket prices

Woods is boffo at the box office, so it’s hardly shocking that his planned absence from Augusta has already had a negative impact on reseller ticket prices for next week’s Masters.

Mike Ehrmann

That Tiger Woods is golf’s biggest draw is hardly a news flash so it should come as no surprise that resellers’ ticket prices for the Masters began plummeting almost immediately after the PGA Tour’s cash cow announced on Tuesday he would miss playing Augusta for the first time in his professional career.

"I don’t think one single athlete has more of an impact on ticket prices than Tiger," Cameron Papp, a spokesperson for secondary market Stubhub told SBNation on Wednesday.

Stubhub reported a 22.5-percent dip in prices for badges for Thursday’s opening round not even a full day after Woods’ announcement, and Papp expected the decline to continue not only for Thursday, but for all four days of the men’s first major of the season. By early afternoon on Wednesday, sellers were getting about $930 for a one-day badge, compared with some $1,200 a day earlier.

"That’s a pretty big drop," said Papp, who noted that prices for Thursday badges in 2013 were going for about $1,350. "We usually don’t see it drop that dramatically and it’s definitely all due to Tiger’s announcement."

Declines would have been even steeper if fans had not expected the WD by Tiger -- a four-time Masters winner who attracts even casual golf fans to big events like next week’s.

Getting past Tiger

"This wasn’t a gigantic surprise," Papp said, referring to Woods’ back problems, which cropped up in August and forced the injury-plagued superstar to skip his title defense at Bay Hill last month, putting his Masters start in jeopardy. "People thought this could happen, so the market was kind of stagnant and now we’re starting to see it dip a little bit."

Vendors of ticket prices were not the only ones likely to feel the pinch in the wallet from Woods’ absence.

Nike, the golf brand that Tiger built, will probably take a hit with its star out of the spotlight, according to global researcher Repucom.

"Since 2010, Tiger Woods has typically commanded between 15-20 percent of broadcast air-time in the United States, depending on his performance," Repucom chief executive Paul Smith said in a statement.

Thanks to Woods, and to a much lesser extent, Rory McIlroy, Nike was the fifth-highest ranking brand at last year’s Masters, the Beaverton, Ore., company enjoying nearly 50 minutes of air time. With Woods in the field, the swoosh generated more than $3.8 million worth of media value, which Repucom calculates using a proprietary technology that incorporates several factors, including logo size, duration on screen, location, and number of times it appears.

"From a brand perspective, [Woods’ withdrawal] is challenging news for Nike, though Tiger will still dominate news coverage leading into Thursday’s first round," said Smith. "Rory McIlroy has an opportunity to play a leading role for Nike during the tournament and it will be interesting to see just how well he can perform and carry the brand through the event."

For golf-specific brands like Nike, Titleist and TaylorMade, the Masters drives more than 20 percent of all exposure and media value in golf in the U.S. -- more than any other tournament. So, um, no pressure on you, Rory.