The Champions League final may be the showpiece event of the season for European football, with some of the best club sides in the world going head to head. However, despite the vast sums of money generated by regular participants in the competition, let alone the winners, it may not be the most lucrative.
Away from the glare and glitz of Europe’s most elite club competition, the Championship play-off final is arguably the most financially significant match in football, with a place in the Premier League at stake. This season Coventry City and Luton Town end a marathon 49-game Championship season with a showdown at Wembley. The two clubs, established members of England’s top division in the 1980s as well as winning domestic cups in that time, will be competing for a chance to test themselves at the top level. However, the winners will also gain huge financial rewards.
A place in the Premier League brings a whole host of benefits. Each season Billions of pounds are distributed between the teams in England’s topflight. The television payments are shared out equally alongside merit based rewards. This means that the wealth is distributed relatively fairly.
How much does the Championship play-off winner earn?
Winning the Championship play-off final and earning promotion to the Premier League is understood to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds, though this can vary season to season.
In 2020, Deloitte suggested that victory in the play-off final could see an increase in revenue of between £135 million ($167m) to £265 million ($328m), depending on whether a promoted team can avoid immediate relegation.
TV Money and Prize Money
A huge slice of the money comes from broadcasting revenue. The Premier League commands huge viewing figures around the world and in recent years the influx of cash from TV deals has increased greatly. Figures for the 2020-21 season showed that the 20 clubs in the league were able to share more than £2.5 billion ($3bn). Each club was guaranteed at least £31.4m ($38.9m) in equal share payments, £47.5m ($58.8m) in international TV and £5.9m ($7.3m) in central commercial payments. This meant that each team was guaranteed approximately £85 million. In addition, clubs were awarded merit payments. 20th position bagged £1.7m while the champions were awarded £34.9m. Then there were “facility fees”. These are dependent on the number of televised matches they were selected for.
Even if the play-off winners were to find the Premier League a step too far it can still bring huge financial rewards
As well as broadcast revenue, clubs who are relegated to the Championship are given ‘Parachute Payments’, which limit the financial damage. These payments are a percentage of the equal share of broadcast revenue, which gradually drops over a period of three years – from 55 per cent to 45 per cent and, if the club was in the Premier League for more than one season, to 20 per cent in the third year.