Football is all about fairytales. Sadly fairytales have become a thing of the past in the beautiful game with big sums of money running the show now.
But with Luton Town and Coventry City in the 2022/23 Championship playoff final this season, a fairytale will be completed irrespective of who wins. Both clubs have made tremendous strides in the football pyramid since 2018. From fighting for promotion in Non-league to now fighting for promotion to Premier, The Hatters have come a long way.
On the other hand, Coventry City were part of the original Premier League 24 but were relegated in 2001. The Sky Blues have since clawed their way back with two promotions in the last three seasons and like Luton are one game away from the Premier League.
Although what shadows these two teams’ success in the past decade is the amount of money pumped into the Championship playoff final – the richest game in football. Which brings us to the question, why Championship playoff final is called the richest game in football?
Richest game in football – Championship playoff final
English top-flight has always been the wealthiest football league in the world and promotion into it no doubt gets the club big sums of money. A rule was passed in 2016 stating that – if a club drops from Premier League after only one season the ‘Parachute payment’ is activated to cover the losses of it.
The main reason that the Championship playoff final is the richest and biggest game(in terms of money of course) in football is because it allows newly promoted teams to inject funds on new players and improved stadiums. Stadiums also need to meet Premier League standards and criteria – that is also applicable to the newly promoted teams.
This allows the clubs to have an equal level of competition considering the gulf in class in the Premier League and Championship. How the promoted teams spend that money is up to them but history suggests that clubs prefer to invest that money into players – which was shown by Nottingham Forest in the 2022 transfer window who signed 25+ players.
Championship playoff final prize money
The financial incentives in the Championship playoff final is the reason it is called the ‘richest game in football’. But how much is the prize money for the final? The money is not given at once to the clubs but it is irrespective a huge boost for all parties involved.
Much of that sum comes from TV rights, sponsorship deals and Premier League promotion bonuses. The Premier League generates so much money from TV revenue, £100million is guaranteed for even the tam who finishes last.
Depending on the non-TV agreements, the playoff final winner gets a prize money of approximately between £135m to £265m. The Champions League winner itself gets a prize money of £100million depending on the sponsorship deals and TV revenue generated. With so much difference in the amount for the UCL winner and Championship playoff winner, clearly the playoff final has earned the tag of richest game in football on merit.