The FA Cup is the home of football magic, but away from the feel-good stories of brick layers and bin men scoring last-minute winners against Premier League giants, there is also a very practical advantage to a cheeky cup run.
Every team is rewarded with a cash prize for progressing through each round, and that sum grows larger as you reach the giddy heights of the competition’s latter stages.
For the teams in the upper echelons of the football pyramid, that injection of cash may make little difference to their budgets.
But for the smaller clubs serving up the giant killings, or venturing bravely into the deep end of the tournament, it presents a wonderful opportunity to create a much-needed cash influx, easing the pressure on their finances for another year.
And although the FA Cup prize money has been slashed in half this year, there is still a huge amount of cash to be made from the grand old tournament. But how much does a team get for winning in each round?
Well, teams are first awarded £16,972 if they progress from the first round of the FA Cup. while losers receive £5,657. The second round rewards winners with a prize of £25,500, and losers take home £8,500.
Now we reach the third round of the FA Cup, where we have just seen the likes of Crawley topple Leeds United, and Chorley defeat Derby County. Those teams have pocketed £61,500, while their victims make do with £20,500.
Into the dizzying heights of the fourth round, and not only does victory guarantee a place in round five, but also a valuable £90,000. The prize money then doubles for the winner in round five, as they bag £180,000, and that doubles once more for the quarter-final winners, scooping £360,000.
Now approaching the semi-finals, and money should be the last thing on any supporter’s mind. But for the clubs, it’s an opportunity to make some serious cash. The winner of this tie earns £900,000, while the loser earns half of that at £450,000.
The prize money doubles again for both the winner and the runner-up in the final, as they are awarded £1,800,000 and £900,000 respectively for their efforts.
While those potential winnings remain hugely important to clubs up and down the football pyramid, the total achievable amount on offer is half what Arsenal earned for lifting the trophy in 2019/20 (£6.8m), due to prize money being cut for the current campaign due to the effects of the pandemic.
This means that for any team starting their journey in the first round of the FA Cup, they could earn a total of £3,433,972 in the unlikely event that these plucky underdogs go all the way and win the competition.