The FA Cup Final: How much money and prestige is at stake?
The modern world of football, a world of multi-billion pound Sky TV deals, billionaire owners, £1,000,000-per-month footballer salaries, and sponsored stadiums. It’s a cynical, greedy world where cash is King, and where more often than not you know the winners of a game, league or tournament before a ball has so much as been kicked.
And yet as cynical as the prawn sandwich modern world of footie might be, there are still elements of the beautiful game which remain beautiful. As Leicester City, like Nottingham Forest before them in the 1970’s, proved this season, miracles and magic still happen in the game. But while the Leicester City fairytale was a thing of beauty, such league fairytales are as rare as unicorns – it’ll probably be another 40-years, if ever, before another team manages something similar.
This is why the FA Cup is so special. On their day, even the most humble of clubs can manage a giant killing and steal a win against one of the big boys – you might recall how League One Bradford City beat Mourinho’s all-conquering Chelsea 4-2 in the FA Cup Fourth Round just last January. This is why, as far as prize money is concerned, while the FA Cup means little to the footballing superpowers financially, the richest and greatest teams still value the competition greatly – just ask the millions of fans around the world who follow the FA Cup, and the likes of Arsene Wenger, Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, and West Ham’s manager Slaven Bilic, who said lifting the trophy would a greater achievement than qualifying for the Champions League. And as Millwall found a few years ago, the FA Cup can even be a glittering route into Europe, with a Europa League spot available to the tournament winners or finalists.
The magic of the oldest football competition in the world is not to be sniffed at.
The FA Cup: a transformative money-spinner and lifeline for lower-league football clubs
The champagne world of Premier League football is a world away from the more modest, spit and sawdust existence of many lower-league clubs.
While the £4million in winnings for lifting the trophy is peanuts to the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea – who are used to earning eight-figure sums from a run in the Champions League – to lower-division and non-league sides an FA Cup run can be akin to winning the lottery.
There’s the prestige that comes with bringing a Premier League giant to your stadium, of course – what’s more exciting than a glamour tie with the likes of Everton, if you’re a fan of League Two side Dagenham and Redbridge, who’re struggling for league survival? But glamour and excitement aside, it’s the money that makes the FA Cup so important to lower-league sides. To use their 2016 FA Cup tie as an example, Everton, a Premier League side packed with internationals, £100,000 or so for the tie is shirt buttons, but to Dagenham and Redbridge such a huge sum of money can be transformative, equivalent to their gate receipts for an entire season. £100,000 might pay for two or three new players who could be the difference between mid-table safety and relegation from the football league.
In extreme cases, an FA Cup run has even proved to be a lifeline for lower-league and non-league teams, who would have gone bust without the unexpected financial windfall that came from being matched up against one of the giants of the game.
How much money is the FA Cup worth?
Well, it depends who’s asking – an FA Cup run means different things to many clubs, depending on their wealth and standing.
As before mentioned, a Premier League title contender won’t be in it for the money – what’s £3million to them? As an example, Arsenal’s 2014-15 FA Cup win over Chelsea, who they spanked 4-0, netted them £4.3million all-in-all – that’s just 1.2% of their £344.5million turnover for the season. £4.3million doesn’t really stand-up against the £27.4million and £96.5million they earned from the Champions League and Premier League respectively.
On the flip-side for the likes of Warrington Town, a club which plies its trade in the semi-pro Northern Premier Division League One, their remarkable 2014-15 FA Cup run has effectively set them up financially for life.
The squad, which contained a catalogue model and a solicitor, battled its way through four qualifying rounds before reaching the first round of the FA Cup proper, where they defeated League Two club Exeter City – a club 100-places and four-leagues above them. Their fairytale run finally ended in the second round, where they lost 2-0 at Gateshead, but not before they took a cheque home with them for just under £200,000.
So in answer to the question, FA Cup cash is back-of-the-sofa change to the big boys but for grassroots football it’s a godsend.
Where does the money from the FA Cup come from?
The money generated in the FA Cup comes from the same three revenue streams as you’d find in any other cup competition or league.
- The three key revenue streams are:
- Prize money earnings
- TV money
- Gate receipts – all money raised through gate receipts is split 45/45 in the FA Cup, with 10% going to the FA
OK then, how does the FA Cup prize money & TV money system work?
Perhaps the easiest way to show who earns what for reaching each round of the FA Cup, a table showing the prize money and TV revenue for each round is best.
- FA Cup Prize money – 2014-15
- Extra Preliminary Round winners – (184) – £1,500
- Preliminary Round winners – (160) – £1,925
- First Round Qualifying winners – (116) – £3,000
- Second Round Qualifying winners – (80) – £4,500
- Third Round Qualifying winners – (40) – £7,500
- Fourth Round Qualifying winners – (32) – £12,500
- First Round Proper winners – (40) – £18,000
- Second Round Proper winners – (20) – £27,000
- Third Round Proper winners – (32) – £67,500
- Fourth Round Proper winners – (16) – £90,000
- Fifth Round Proper winners – (8) – £180,000
- Sixth Round Proper winners – (4) – £360,000
- Semi-Final winners – (2) – £900,000
- Semi-Final losers – (2) – £450,000
- Final runners-up – (1) – £900,000
- Final winners – (1) – £1,800,000
Television Fees (per club)
|Live||Live Replay||Highlights / Single Cam Live / Live Overseas|
Radio Fees (BBC 5 Live & talkSport) (per club)
Full Match (46-90mins) £7,250
Half Match (45mins) £3,620
Quarter Match (20-44mins) £1,840
Right, got it. So the FA Cup finalists, Manchester United and Crystal Palace, will receive how much if they win on Sunday? Is it a big game for them?
Whichever of the two finalists ends up lifting the FA Cup this Saturday, they can both expect to walk away with at least £4.3million for their cup-winning endeavours. Seeing as both teams are Premier League teams who are virtually swimming in Sky TV money, this prize money will be little more than a drop in the ocean as far as revenue goes.
However on the prestige side of things, both clubs will be desperate to win. The opportunity to contest a cup final is a once in a generation opportunity for a club of Crystal Palace’s stature – Alan Pardew, his players will want nothing more than to gain sporting immortality by winning this most special cups and getting one over on an unusually vulnerable Manchester United who are there for the taking.
Van Gaal has presided over a terribly disappointing season, during which United have played dull, insipid football and failed to qualify for the Champions League. With fans baying for his blood and with Jose Mourinho waiting in the wings to snatch his job away this summer, Van Gaal absolutely has to win this game to stand any chance of seeing out his final season in charge of Manchester United. Expect him to throw the kitchen sink at Crystal Palace.
Erm, when is the FA Cup final again?
Sunday. The FA Cup final is this Saturday 21st May, you’ll be able to watch it on the telly or at the pub.
If you’re a fan of either of the finalists, best of luck to you – may the best team win!
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