How Financially Important Are FA Cup Games To EFL Teams Like Oxford United?

How Financially Important Are FA Cup Games To EFL Teams Like Oxford United?

The FA Cup is one of the most prestigious trophies a team can win in the English league pyramid, but how important is the FA Cup to lower-league sides who are scrapped for financial survival?

Ahead of Oxford United’s money-grabbing third round home game against Premier League Arsenal on January 9, we look at what a sell-out crowd, ITV is covering the game and what a cup win could mean for the USA.

The FA Cup Final has been played at Wembley Stadium since 1923

What is the English FA Cup?

The Football Association Challenge Cup (which most people in England simply refer to as the FA Cup) is one of the most prestigious football tournaments in England. The FA Cup is a knockout football tournament in men’s national football and the first tournament was held in 1871. The most successful club in FA Cup history is Arsenal of the North London Premier League, who have won the trophy no fewer than 14 times.

In comparison, Manchester United have won the FA Cup 12 times. Next up are Chelsea, current champions Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, all of whom have won eight times. If you want to see one of these Premier League teams in action this season, don’t forget that there is still time to buy Premier League tickets at affordable prices from Seatpick.

The FA Cup differs from the EFL Cup (Carabao Cup) as it includes teams from ALL English football leagues, while the EFL Cup only includes teams from the top four English leagues.

The FA Cup is extremely important for lower division sides like Oxford United who currently sit 13th (out of 24 teams) in League One. The financial rewards are obvious. Any cash injection, no matter how big or small, can go a long way, especially for lower division clubs. For example, the Emirates FA Cup prize money breakdown for the 2022/23 cup winners is as follows:

  • Winner – £2,000,000.00
  • Finalists – £1,000,000.00
  • Semi Final Winner – £1,000,000.00
  • Semi-final losers – £500,000

For the average Premier League side this may not seem like a lot of money, but for a lower division side whose payroll costs are much lower, £500,000 to £2,000,000.00 in prize money is quite a large sum.

But you also have matchday income and possible TV appearances. The further a team advances in the FA Cup, the more money they make every matchday from ticket sales, merchandise sales, food and drink and also from television broadcasts. So it’s really important that the lower division clubs go as far as possible to get the money in.

Even the improbability of forcing a replay would see the coffers swell at Kassam Stadium.

Premier League Arsenal are Oxford United’s next opponents in the FA Cup

What else does winning the FA Cup promise?

Aside from the usual FA Cup prize money, TV broadcast money and matchday earnings, the FA Cup winner is also guaranteed a place in the Europa League, opening up a whole new source of income for a short period of time, which can also be extremely lucrative.

So when Oxford United or any other team from a lower division does the unthinkable and wins the FA Cup, it can be one of the best things that could ever happen to the club.

Can Oxford Utd win the FA Cup?

There are currently 64 teams left in the FA Cup and Oxford United still have a chance statistically, but they face their biggest challenge in their next FA Cup game. They will host current Premier League leaders Arsenal on 7 January 2023.

Of course if they beat Arsenal they have a chance to go all the way. But let’s face it, that game alone is a challenge for Karl Robinson’s side who are already struggling for form in the Premier League. It’s going to be a tough game on paper against a busy Christmas calendar, but luckily the game will be played on a grass field where anything could happen.

They would have to go back to 2013 when Wigan Athletic beat Manchester City 1-0 to claim the last underdog win despite being a Premier League side at the time (well, they were relegated that year).

No team from the top flight has won the FA Cup since West Ham in 1980. And Tottenham Hotspur were a non-league side for their 1901 win as they were only elected to the league in 1908 but at that point it was only first and second division.

However, the odds of Oxford United winning the FA Cup are not too good. Across a multitude of trusted sports betting sites you will see that Oxford Utd is rated at around 500/1 long shots on average. In comparison, the odds for favorites to win the FA Cup, Manchester City, are currently around 7/2.

In short, the bookies don’t give us a chance and neither does history.

However, to give you some hope, Oxford is already on the list of winners, although the University of Oxford in 1874 (the year before they were second). At the 3rd FA Cup, 28 teams took part with the club’s founder Charles Mackarness scores in the final.

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