Championship play off final: how much do winners get - why is it known as the ‘richest game in football’?

Luton Town and Coventry City are just one win away from a return to the top-flight after a long 49 game season

Luton Town and Coventry City meet in the Championship play-off final and the two underdogs are competing at Wembley Stadium to secure the richest prize in football…promotion to the Premier League.

The two sides have both enjoyed a meteoric rise up the football pyramid in recent years and they were both competing in the fourth tier during the 2017/18 campaign. Promotion to the Premier League offers both sides huge financial incentives in terms of revenue, sponsorship and TV money. 

But how much do the winners of the Championship play-off final actually earn and why is the fixture described as the richest game in football? Here is everything you need to know.

What is the cash prize for winning the Championship play-off final?

The Championship play-off final is the showpiece event of a long Football League season and the winners of Luton Town and Coventry City will receive around £100 million upon promotion to the Premier League, according to Club Wembley.

This would be a sensational prize for both football clubs and it would particularly be beneficiary for Luton Town who are planning to move away from their long term home ground Kenilworth Road in the near future.

The cash prize would also come as a great boost to new Coventry owner Doug King as he continues to rebuild the club after the departure of previous owner Sisu.

Nottingham Forest won promotion in last year's play off final. (Getty Images)Nottingham Forest won promotion in last year's play off final. (Getty Images)
Nottingham Forest won promotion in last year's play off final. (Getty Images)

Why is the Championship play-off final described as the richest prize in football?

The Championship play-off final is viewed as the most financially significant match in football and the benefits of winning it extend beyond the immediate £100 million prize.

Promotion to the Premier League catapults the play-off final winners into the most lucrative football league in the world where they will compete against giants of the game such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Billions of pounds of TV money are distributed among the top-flight teams that compete in England’s top division and there are a number of merit based rewards in place to ensure a relatively fair spread of the wealth.

Official figures for the 2020/21 season showed that broadcast revenue of over £2.5 billion was shared between the 20 clubs in the Premier League.

Of that prize money, each club was guaranteed a figure of around £84.8 million from a combination of international TV payments and central commercial payments.

Premier League clubs are also given merit based payments based on their final league position in the top-flight meaning there are further incentives in place for club’s to avoid relegation. 

Overall it is estimated that the figure could rise to £265 million in prize money if a club avoids relegation in their first season in the Premier League.

What are parachute payments?

The Championship play-off winners have traditionally struggled in the Premier League in the following season but relegation doesn’t necessarily mean that the club will miss out on some form of financial benefit.

Parachute payments are an example of this and relegated clubs are usually given a payment to effectively break the fall into the second tier and prevent them from suffering financial difficulties.

Each relegated club receives 55 percent of the amount that each Premier League team would collect under an equal share of the broadcast revenue, this is reduced to 45 percent in the second year and 20 percent in the third season.

The payments have often resulted in relegated clubs returning to the Premier League within two seasons and recent examples of this have been shown with Burnley this season, along with Fulham and Bournemouth last season.