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FA Cup


Cup is a distraction says Villa boss

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes the majority of top-flight clubs would rather not have the distraction of the FA Cup.

Lambert was asked whether the FA Cup was something Premier League clubs could do without. 'I think if you asked the majority of them, if they were being honest, they probably would do,' he told BBC WM. 'Not just because of the money but survival in the league is vital.'

BBC and BT win FA Cup rights

BT Group's new TV service has won a joint bid with the BBC to screen FA Cup football matches in the UK up to 2018. The winning bids are estimated to have cost close to £50m a year.

BT sports has exclusive rights to show 25 live matches annually, with the BBC gaining exclusive coverage of 16 games a year. The broadcasters had competed against a joint bid from BSkyB and ITV. However, ITV has found the FA Cup a less attractive means of pulling in advertisers than some other sports coverage.

Guernsey pay the price

Guernsey are going to have to pay a high price for playing in the FA Cup and the FA Trophy. The Football Association has ruled that the club must cover the cost of flights, accommodation transport for all three match officials and 25 members of the opponent's team.

What is more, any postponed home tie must be rescheduled on the UK mainland with Guernsey covering the cost of hiring a neutral ground no more than 30 miles from Gatwick. The same provision will apply if an away tie is drawn, depriving the Green Lions of a home replay.

Big bid battle for FA Cup rights

It looks like there is going to be a big battle for television rights to the FA Cup which should leave the Football Association significantly better off. In January 2012, ITV acquired broadcast rights for 16 FA Cup games per season, as well as some of England's home qualifying games, for an annual cost of £43m.

Up for the Cup

The 5.15 timing for this year's FA Cup final has provoked controversy.   Wigan Athletic fans are particularly aggrieved.  By the time the game has finished it will be too late for them to get to Euston and catch a train home.   The FA's response has been to recommend using a coach, provided by one of their sponsors, National Express.  But this could mean a return home well after midnight, not fun if you have small children with you.

BT buys ESPN's sports channels

BT is buying ESPN's sports television channels in the UK and Ireland as it steps up its challenge to BSkyB in the pay-tv market.   Last June BT agreed to pay £738m for the rights to 38 Premier League matches including 18 'first picks'.   The move removed ESPN's status as the only rival to Sky and made the US company's withdrawal from the British market more likely.

BT interested in ESPN's football rights

BT is in discussions to acquire football rights from sports broadcaster ESPN as the Disney-owned channel explores an exit from the UK.   The rights that are available include matches from the Bundesliga, Europa League and FA Cup.   However, BSkyB is also interested.

The benefits and costs of a cup run

Luton Town have made £600,000 from their FA Cup run, including a £233,200 broadcast fee from ESPN for their home against Millwall.   However, it simply eats into projected losses of £2m this season as they try to return to the Football League.

They have spent big on their squad.   Indeed, the consortium in charge at Kenilworth Road has already ploughed £10m into the club.   But at the moment they are 8th in the Blue Square Premiership, although they have games in hand on the clubs above them.

FA Cup gives boost to hard up clubs

The FA has released a new report, undertaken by Deloitte, which highlighted the financial impact of the FA Cup to participating clubs.

The findings show that a total of almost £650m was generated in prize money, TV payments and gate receipts for participating clubs in the 10 years between 2001/02 and 2010/11.  FA  Secretary Alex Horne was keen to point out the cash windfall that the Cup provides has an impact for teams at all levels.

It's the FA Cup with Budweiser

Budweiser is to be the new lead sponsor of the FA Cup.   The Football Association has signed a three-year deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev that is worth £8m a year for three years.   An attempt is to be made to revive a competition that has declined domestically in recent years in comparison to the Premier League and the Champions League.  Whether replacing the traditional early afternoon kick off by a 5.15 start will help remains to be seen.