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How Much is the Championship Play-off Final Actually Worth?


How Much is the Championship Play-off Final Actually Worth?

With the conclusion of the Championship Play-off semi-finals earlier this week, we now know that Luton Town and Coventry City will meet in the 2023 instalment of the match that is known to many as ‘the richest game in football’.

It goes without saying that promotion to the best league in the world comes with plenty of financial gain, but how much is the Play-off final actually worth?

In the Money

The likes of sponsorships, increased matchday revenue, media and broadcast deals mean that a spot in the Premier League is worth its weight in gold. According to analysis from Deloitte before last season’s final between Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest, promoted sides could see an increased revenue of at least £170m, across the next three seasons. This additional future revenue could rise to in excess of £300m across five years if the promoted club survives their first season in the Premier League.

Those figures can increase each season, and are likely to be even higher figures now, but the £5.1billion TV broadcast deal that is shared among Premier League (a base sum along with additional sums depending on league positions and number of televised matches) means that any promoted team will certainly see in an influx of cash regardless. By contrast, Championship clubs receive around £8million in TV rights per season they spend in the second tier.

Broadcasting deals and increased revenue mean that either Coventry or Luton will see an enormous rise in funds, but does that come at a cost?

Comes at a Cost

With all the luxuries that being in the top tier provides, it could cost a lot more for a team that wants to stay in the best league in the world.

Luton themselves know that at least £10million will need to be spent if they are promoted, with their Kenilworth Road stadium needing improvements to comply with Premier League's broadcasting requirements and some facility requirements that are needed. The costly improvements could also only be temporary, with the Hatters still hoping to build a new 23,000 stadium in the next few years – a project that would cost around another £100m.

The most noticeable cost that promoted teams have to fork out for is the recruitment, with more cash to spend on new players that will be needed. With the wealth that the usual Premier League teams have, a step-up in terms of team quality means that teams need to strengthen to have any chance of beating the drop.

Nottingham Forest were the recent examples, spending close to £200million in order to rebuild a team fit for Premier League survival, which may still yet not be enough. Of course, teams aren’t forced to spend huge amounts when going up, but with the huge step up in class from Championship to Premier League, most teams need to spend to have any chance.

Whilst parachute payments and solidarity payments may come into play when a team is relegated, the damage could be done if a club goes all-out in order to survive at the top. Plenty of teams sink funds into retaining their Premier League status and have to deal with consequences of running costs and player wages costs when they get relegated. Sunderland were an example of that when they were relegated from the top flight in 2017, falling all the way down to League One as the club struggled with life after the Premier League.

Whoever comes out victorious between Coventry and Luton will get to experience the Premier League and all its wealth. As plenty of teams have found out before though, it can make or break a club.