Tottenham generated almost 23 times as much money from the Champions League as they did from the FA Cup last season, with the gap between the financial value of the two competitions to the club set to increase to a ratio of approximately 80:1 this season, according to analysis by The Times.
Tottenham banked £63.2 million as a result of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League last season, compared to £2.8 million for reaching the FA Cup semi-finals. The figures for this season are projected to be about £80 million and less than £1 million.
The decision by Mauricio Pochettino, the manager, to prioritise Champions League qualification over the domestic cups has been criticised following Tottenham’s elimination from both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in the past week, but there is an economic reality underpinning his judgment. The difference between the Champions League and the FA Cup in terms of prize money, television income and gate receipts is stark, before accounting for the competition’s greater global reach and importance in attracting players.
In the 2017-18 season Tottenham received £23.7 million from Uefa in prize money for reaching the last 16, £29.5 million from the sale of television rights and £9.1 million in gate receipts in the Champions League. In the FA Cup the corresponding figures were £450,000, £835,000 and £1.5 million respectively, a combined haul of £2.8 million.
The FA Cup prize fund has doubled this season following the start of a new overseas TV deal, but Tottenham will not see an immediate benefit after being knocked out in the fourth round by Crystal Palace on Sunday. As a result the north London club’s prize money for this season will be a paltry £135,000, with £300,000 in television money as both their games were broadcast live, and even with the addition of gate receipts the club will not reach a total of £1 million.
In contrast the Champions League prize fund and television distribution has increased by 40 per cent this season. Tottenham have already reached the last 16, where they face Borussia Dortmund next month.