Startups and the Masters Golf Tournament

Today I had the opportunity to go to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, GA with a friend and watch the best golfers in the world do a practice round at the famed course. The Master’s is like the Running of the Bulls in Spain in that it is an iconic Georgia institution with worldwide recognition. It really is an amazing event.

An interesting aspect, coming from an entrepreneur and business perspective, is that the Masters has the least commercial influence of any major sporting event I’ve ever attended. Once you step in the gates, there are no billboards, logos, or ads of any sort littering the facility. Quite refreshing.

The lack of sponsors on the grounds doesn’t mean there aren’t commercial interests every step of the way outside the gates. Here are a few we encountered during our half mile walk:

  • Parking options as far as the eye can see for $20 a spot
  • Street vendors selling badge holders, bottled water, umbrellas, Tiger Woods memorabilia, previous Master’s winner photos, John Daly stuff (not sure why!), and miscellaneous other items
  • Range Rover had a display area showing off their new Autobiography Edition
  • Several golf vendors like Adam’s and Titleist had semi-trailers configured as portable trade show facilities in a large parking lot to test out clubs

While these weren’t technology startups, many were small businesses out hustling to earn a dollar. My biggest takeaway from the commercial setting to get to the gates: when you have a captive, targeted audience you should sell, sell, sell.

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