Why Championship Playoff Final Is the Richest Game in Football Ahead of Coventry vs Luton

Why Championship Playoff Final Is the Richest Game in Football Ahead of Coventry vs Luton

Martin Moses
updated at May 27, 2023 at 8:32 AM
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  • Coventry will play Luton in this season's Championship playoff final on May 27
  • Luton saw off Sunderland in the semis as they seek to qualify for the Premier League for the first time ever
  • But apart from the qualification, the financial rewards on offer make it the richest game in football

When Coventry and Luton line up below the famous Wembley Arch on Saturday, May 27, in the Championship playoff final, a lot will be at stake.

After a gruelling 48-game season, only one team will join Burnley and Sheffield United in the Big Boys League. Given their meteoric rise in recent years, it is sad that only one team will walk away with the grand prize.

Championship playoff final, Coventry vs Luton
Nottingham Forrest won the 2022 playoff final. Photo by Christopher Lee.
Source: Getty Images

Coventry will be aiming to make a return to the top-flight league for the first time in 22 years, while Luton have never participated in the Premier League before. It's only five years ago that both sides were competing in League Two, but here we are in 2023; they will be rubbing shoulders in the richest game in world football.

With many often preferring to follow the Premier League itself, it sounds crazy that a once-in-a-season game in the second-fiddle competition attracts so much attention.

Sports Brief crunches the numbers.

Premier League's prize money

For starters, the said huge money comes from television rights and sponsorship deals and not the English Football League (EFL). As Sporting News reports, the Championship winner often only gets 100,000 pounds, with the runners-up getting 50,000 pounds from the EFL.

The third promotion spot, i.e., the winner of the playoff final, then gets involved in a huge financial windfall once they get Premier League status.

The 20 teams in the Premier League often have at least 3 billion pounds of TV revenue to share equally, irrespective of status or where you finish in the league. This figure, however, slightly varies from season to season.

Revenue distribution criteria

This means that every Premier League team gets at least 100 million pounds before the money is further divided according to the position one finished in. This, compared to the 7 million pounds championship teams get, is a huge recognisable difference.

The number of televised matches for clubs also determines how much one gets afterwards

For instance, according to Premier League's official data for the 2020/2021 season, champions Manchester City had 27 televised games compared to Chelsea's 30. Therefore, Chelsea, despite finishing fourth, earned more money in individual facility fees than the champions.

This is why the championship final is worth everything. The winners often get catapulted into this prize bracket if they can reach the promised land.

The payments are guaranteed, provided they can retain their top-flight status in subsequent seasons. The money increases depending on where they finish in the league and how many of their games get televised.

Parachute payments

There are some instances where the Premier League employs parachute payments. As 90 MIN reports, this was introduced in the 2006/2007 season and is applied in the 55%-45%-20% formula.

These payments are made to ensure that the relegated team is given a free fall to maintain their operational costs in the Championship. In the first season after relegation, they are given 55% of what they were to earn in TV revenue. In the second season, they get 45% and 20% in the third season.

This is given to teams that had spent more than one season in the Premier League.

By winning the Championship final and earning top-flight status, a team is guaranteed 100 million pounds in TV revenue.

How other finals pay

Let's put this in perspective by comparing this amount to the biggest finals in world football; the team that wins the Champions League final gets 72 million pounds, as captured by AS Sports, while whoever wins the World Cup gets 33 million pounds, as captured by Goal.

So when the Sky Blues take on the Hatters on Saturday, it won't just be the allure of playing in the most competitive league in the world that will be on offer, but the financial rewards that come with it as well.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)