Trends & Features

Former Premier League Clubs to Battle It Out in £140 Million Play-Off Game

On May 26, two of Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Southampton

Norwich City, West Brom and Hull City will battle it out in the Championship play-off final.

Win and they will secure promotion to the Premier League, as well as a payday worth over £100 million. Lose, and it’s the heartbreaking prospect of another season in the second tier.

That sextet of clubs share one thing in common: they have all previously played in the Premier League before. So they know what’s at stake… which helps to make the Championship play-offs even more nerve-shredding to play in.

Promotion Palaver

In the Championship betting odds, Ipswich Town are a red-hot 1/40 favourite to finish in second place in the league table – achieving automatic promotion to the Premier League and swerving the dread of the play-offs.

Otherwise, the Championship promotion betting odds have Leeds as the 11/10 favourites to come through the play-offs, with Southampton (17/10), Norwich (11/2), West Brom (11/2) and Hull City (50/1) ranked according to their league position and the momentum they are carrying into the rest of the season.

Third place in the final league table will play sixth in the play-off semi-finals, while fourth and fifth will lock horns in a two-legged tie, with one game each played at their respective home stadiums. The winners of those two rubbers will then convene in the Championship play-off final on May 26.

Although there are more prestigious games in world sport, it’s doubtful that there are many worth so much to the winner. As well as the prestige of playing in the Premier League, which is considered one of the best domestic divisions on the planet, there is also the financial benefits that such a status brings.

Making It Pay

It’s thought that the bare minimum a Premier League club will earn per season in TV revenue is £100 million, while prize money is paid based upon each team’s finishing position in the league table – even propping up the rest in 20th earns a guaranteed £3 million.

Should a promoted team go on to suffer relegation in their first season in the top flight, they take receipt of ‘parachute payments’ – a stipend designed to aid the transition back to Championship level football. Their worth? Around £40 million in that first season, with further payments of around £30 million and £15 million in years two and three if the club in question is unable to secure promotion once again.

The Premier League has released details of the TV money distribution for 2022/23, which was the first year of current 3-year cycle. Highest earnings were #MCFC £176m, #AFC £172m, #MUFC £168m, #NUFC £164m, #LFC £163m & #THFC £152m. Even the last placed club earned more than £100m.

— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) February 2, 2024

There are other revenue streams associated with competing in the Premier League too, so even by the most conservative of estimates, a single campaign in the EPL – even finishing bottom of the league – is worth a minimum of £143 million when totting up TV revenue, prize money and the first year’s parachute payment.

It goes without saying that such a financial injection can secure a football club’s future for years, but then you consider the hope and expectation of each team’s supporters heading into the play-off games – desperate as they are to see their beloved promoted to the Premier League.

Pressure? Few sporting events deliver quite like the Championship play-offs, so May 26 is not a day to miss.

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