Cash for the Cup? (FA Cup Finance) #CAFC

Trust Writer Les Mes Follows up his Piece from last year on the Cash involved with an FA Cup Run


Charlton are currently a mid table Championship club with the relegation struggle of last season becoming a distant memory. So is the FA Cup really worth bothering with?

With such a small squad there is a risk of extra games leading to fatigue, injuries and fixture congestion for what is apparently a meagre financial reward in the early rounds.

Having said that, because of this nasty run we are in, the club could actually do with an extra fixture or two to keep the team playing without pressure, and, hopefully, induct some new additions to the squad. Our league form could certainly do with a confidence boost. And meeting a big club in a later round will earn money and let us see just how good our new squad is. Bikey, Ben Haim, Gudmundson, Vetokele and Buyens should relish a fixture against lower Premier league opposition as will the fans. About half the current fanbase began watching Charlton before the departure from the Valley in 1985 and many of their first memories will go back to big games against Spurs, Chelsea, QPR and West Ham in cup and league in front of 32,000 crowds. That sort of spectacle leaves an impression on young fans and it wasn’t until 2000 when the North Upper opened that we had a chance to have such a big atmosphere at the Valley again.

A cup run may be just what the team and the fans need right now.

The cup matters because of the glory and romance and also because of the finances. Recently David Joyes (CAFC Finance Director) confirmed that the club made £900,000 from TV rights, attendances and prize money last season (see table below). Even allowing for undisclosed bonuses this will represent an addition of at least £500K to the bottom line. So what of the finances of a cup run ? What is it really worth?

If you look at the details about prize money and TV money the FA Cup suddenly looks a lot more attractive.

  • £6,700  for TV highlights in every round - not much, but it’s a start
  • £67,500 for wining the 3rd round
  • £95,000 for winning the 4th round.

So about £170,000 plus a share of gate receipts will land in the bank by winning the 3rd and 4th round.

Looking a bit further ahead we estimate the club could bank nearly £3m for getting through the fifth and sixth rounds – although we recognize that this is a feat Charlton have not achieved for a considerable time.

This consists of:

    • nearly £700,000 total prize money for winning all the games up to and including the 6th round
    • plus a minimum of £450,000 for a losing semi final at Wembley
    • £600,000 (45% share of the gates guestimated from the 3rd – 6th
    • round matches)
    • Perhaps £800,000 for a share of the Wembley semi final receipts

Maybe £300,000 TV revenue (depending on whether there is live sixth round coverage)

So we can see that a cup run to a Wembley semi-final could raise an amount which is half the annual club deficit or, to look at it another way, a 25% kick on the annual revenue. Building the revenues is much more creative than cutting expenditure and might be the quickest way to getting the club back on track. Plus, it may even generate interest among lapsed and new fans which can’t be bad can it?

A cup run can pay off financially and cover the cost of a new striker plus other additions to the squad. In a way this is just a mini version of the discussion around improving the squad in order to raise league position and attendances for next season or two. It would also coincide with the launch of season ticket sales for 2015-16

The difference is that the Cup starts tomorrow and the January window is open right now so something can be done to improve our chances and make our season more interesting right now. There may even be additional players on the books by the time this article is published. We would hope this would help the club take the next step of the journey and deliver improvement throughout 2015.

If the club wish to make a statement then the opportunity is there. Alternatively they might choose to “concentrate on the league”, play a weakened side and ignore one of the routes to Wembley which clubs like Charlton have every year. That’s a rational choice if one has a relegation or promotion challenge but surely mid-table Championship clubs should be targeting the latter stages of the cup to liven things up? When you consider that one of the Staprix network priorities is to put players in the shop window to help raise revenue then a decent cup run is clearly an opportunity to raise the profile of the club and its best players. In summary we believe that Charlton Athletic should always prioritise the FA Cup, not least because we are the only club in SE London to have won it – even if we have failed to progress beyond the sixth round ever since!


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