As one of the most respected domestic football competitions in the world, the FA Cup inspires teams to bring their best efforts to every match. Pride is the ultimate prize here, but there are significant financial rewards to be won, too.
While the FA Cup prize money is pocket change to the bigger clubs in English football, it can mean the difference between survival and bankruptcy for the smaller teams.
Prize money breakdown
- Extra preliminary round winners: £1,500 per team (184)
- Preliminary round winners: £1,925 per team (160)
- First round qualifying winners: £3,000 per team (116)
- Second Round Qualifying winners: £4,500 per team (80)
- Third Round Qualifying winners: £7,500 per team (40)
- Fourth Round Qualifying winners: £12,500 per team (32)
- First Round Proper winners: £18,000 per team (40)
- Second Round Proper winners: £27,000 per team (20)
- Third Round Proper winners: £67,500 per team (32)
- Fourth Round Proper winners: £90,000 per team (16)
- Fifth Round Proper winners: £180,000 per team (8)
- Sixth Round Proper winners: £360,000 per team (4)
- Semi-Final winners: £900,000 per team (2)
- Semi-Final losers: £450,000 (2)
- Final runners-up: £900,000
- Final winners: £1,800,000
Arsenal’s combined prize money and TV revenue from their FA Cup win in 2014 constitutes just 2% of the Gunners’ annual income. Yet for smaller clubs, the revenue from the FA Cup can mean a windfall.
Warrington Town’s FA Cup run in 2014-15
Warrington Town’s 2014-15 FA Cup run to the second round made them around 70% more than their income for the whole of the previous season (£190,000 vs. £115,000). Most of this money came from TV coverage of their games against Exeter and Gateshead.
Cambridge United’s fourth round tie against Manchester United
For Cambridge United, their fourth round tie against Manchester United had a long-lasting financial impact.
Before the match, the club famously asked its players to pay to replace any of the £40 shirts they swapped with Manchester United players.
While experts estimate that the 0-0 draw netted Cambridge £500,000, the replay at Old Trafford earned them an estimated £1.2 million – more than the club’s annual turnover. The club invested the money in upgrading its facilities and increasing staff numbers.
The gap between the richest and poorest clubs in English football has been a constant theme in recent years.
With this in mind, it is clear that the FA Cup gives small clubs more to play for than medals and prestige. It has long been said that the FA Cup is magic, yet for some clubs, it’s the prize money, and TV and advertising revenue, that can be a godsend.
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