Winner takes £140m. Leeds and Saints battle for the richest prize in football

May 24 – Dubbed the richest match in world football, this Sunday’s Sunday’s Championship Play-Off Final for a place in the Premier League between Leeds United and Southampton will be worth a minimum £140 million to the winner, according to analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

That number could rise to more than £305 million if the winner avoids relegation after their first season in the Premier League.

Leeds and Southampton were relegated last season along with Leicester City who won the Championship and return to the Premier League along with Ipswich Town, who haven’t played in the Premier League since the 2001/02 season.

Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton Town were promoted to the Premier League last season, but all three are returning to the Championship after just a year.

The Deloitte calculations are based on projected increases in matchday, broadcast and commercial revenue.

The parachute payments that play-off finalists Leeds and Saints stand to receive, should they remain in the Championship for the 2024/25 season, reduces the revenue uplift associated with promotion.

In contrast, automatically promoted Ipswich Town, who are not in receipt of parachute payments, can expect a revenue uplift of at least £200 million.

Tim Bridge, lead partner of Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “This weekend, Wembley hosts the match with the most lucrative prize in world football… The prize however is not as significant as it has been in previous years, with both sides having recently felt the benefits, including the financial reward, that come with playing in the topflight. Two clubs bolstered by parachute payments are competing in the play-off final for the first time since 2011/12, marking only the second time this has happened since the turn of the Millennium.

“With three of the top four finishing Championship clubs in receipt of parachute payments, the debate over financial distribution across English football and its impact on competitive balance is likely to continue. The cornerstone of English football’s success has been the ability of all clubs to compete. Maintaining the unscripted drama, perfectly evidenced by occasions such as the Championship play-off final, is crucial for fans, clubs and governing bodies alike,” concluded Bridge.

Finishing position for clubs in the first season following promotion to the Premier League

Season of promotion Championship Winners Championship Runners-Up Play-Off Winners
 2007/08 West Bromwich Albion – 20th  Stoke City – 12th  Hull City – 17th
2008/09  

Wolverhampton

Wanderers – 15th

Birmingham City – 9th Burnley – 18th
2009/10 Newcastle United – 12th West Bromwich Albion – 11th Blackpool – 19th
2010/11 Queens Park Rangers – 17th Norwich City – 12th Swansea City – 11th
2011/12 Reading – 19th Southampton – 14th West Ham United – 10th
2012/13 Cardiff City – 20th Hull City – 16th Crystal Palace –
11th
2013/14 Leicester City –
14th
Burnley – 19th Queens Park Rangers – 20th
2014/15 Bournemouth – 16th Watford – 13th Norwich City – 19th
2015/16 Burnley – 16th Middlesbrough – 19th Hull City – 18th
2016/17 Newcastle – 10th Brighton – 15th Huddersfield –16th
2017/18 Wolverhampton Wanderers – 7th Cardiff City – 18th Fulham – 19th
2018/19 Norwich City – 20th Sheffield United– 9th Aston Villa – 17th
2019/20 Leeds United – 9th West Bromwich Albion – 19th Fulham – 18th
2020/21 Norwich City – 20th Watford – 19th Brentford – 13th
2021/22 Fulham – 10th Bournemouth – 15th Nottingham Forest – 16th
2022/23 Burnley – 19th Sheffield United – 20th Luton Town – 18th

 

Note: Clubs in bold avoided relegation in their first season following promotion to the Premier League. Source: Deloitte’s

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