I must stress I am writing this article from a purely financial basis rather than a football perspective before you shout me down. But as we all know football is now a money driven business whether we like it or not.
As the money rewards for the Premier league success or just survival get greater and greater the rewards for success in the Capital One League Cup reduce lesser and lesser from a financial perspective.
In the Second round of the Capital One League Cup this season we played Cheltenham at the Boleyn ground with an attendance of 23,440. Assuming an average ticket price of £10 that makes a total gate of £234,400. However each team gets 45% of the gate with the remaining 10% going to the Football league. Our approximate cut of the gate was £105,000 not including our ground expenses of paying staff, stewards, policing and the flood lights electricity bill.
In the third round of the Capital One League Cup against Cardiff City prices rose to £15 for a reduced attendance of 18,611 at the Boleyn ground bringing an approximate gate of £279,165. Again we only get to keep 45% of that so around £125,000 was banked less our ground expenses.
West Ham play Burnley away in the fourth round on Tuesday 29th October. Although Turf Moor holds a capacity of 22,546 they have an average gate of just 13,000 and their last Capital One match against Nottingham Forest in September bought in a crowd of just 6,405 at £15 per adult ticket. At those reduced numbers our 45% of the Gate could be around £43,000 for the fourth round,
The Capital One League Cup prize money is also very modest with the winners receiving £100,000, the runners up £50,000 and the two losing semi finalists get £25,000 each.
Sky bought the Football League TV rights for 3 years in 2012 for £195m but this is part of a much larger package including Football league games plus Capital One Cup and Johnston Paint Trophy games. Sky get 75 matches from the Football league including the Play off finals. Even this £195m deal was a £69m drop from the one football league negotiated in 2009.
The Sky TV rights for The Capital One Cup include just 15 games 5 of which include the two legged semi finals and the final itself. Although not published the TV facility fee for having your league cup game shown on Sky is thought to be a similar amount we received for Championship games which is £100,000 for a home game and £10,000 for an away game.
When you factor premier league player’s appearance fees, win and goal bonuses you start to wonder whether it is financially worth it in the early rounds which probably explains one of the reason that Premier league club’s often field a team of youngsters in the early rounds.
Only the league cup finalists earn significant income that would make a difference to a premier league club.
Each finalist earns £250,000 of TV income for the Wembley final plus 45% of the gate money which with a crowd of 90,000 assuming an average of £50 per ticket would bring £2 million to each team.
The Capital One League Cup winner qualifies for the UEFA Europa league whose prize money can be found below in Euros.
UEFA Prize Money
Group stage participation in the Europa League awards a base fee of €1.3 million. A victory in the group pays €200,000 and a draw €100,000. Also, each group winner earns €400,000 and each runner-up €200,000. Reaching the knock-out stage triggers additional bonuses: €200,000 for the round of 32 teams, €350,000 for the round of 16 teams, €450,000 for the quarter-finals and €1 million for the semi-finals. The losing finalists receive €2.5 million and the champions get €5 million.
Premier League Money
As for a comparison with the prize money for the Premier League it pales into insignificance. This season around £1.7bn will be split by the 20 Premier League clubs. I plan a future article to cover this in detail but roughly speaking each premier league club will get £42m guaranteed as a basic award. Every game shown on Sky or BT Sports will be worth £1.2m to each club and every position in the league will be worth £2.1m per place.
So if we are going to have a cup run can we make sure we win it!