Football is fairy tales. Unfortunately, fairy tales have become a thing of the past in this beautiful game that is now played with large sums of money.
But with Luton Town and Coventry City in the 2022/23 Championship play-off final this season, the fairy tale will end regardless of who wins. Since 2018, both clubs have made huge strides in the football pyramid. From the struggle for promotion in the Non-league to the struggle for promotion to the Premier, Hatters they have come a long way.
On the other hand, Coventry City were part of the original Premier League 24 but were relegated in 2001. Sky Blues have since returned with two promotions in the last three seasons and, like Luton, are one game away from the Premier League.
However, what obscures the success of these two teams over the last decade is the amount of money pumped into the Championship play-off final – the richest game in football. Which brings us to the question of why the Championship play-off final is called the richest match in football?
The richest game in football – Championship play-off final
The English Premier League has always been the richest football league in the world, and promotion to it undoubtedly brings large sums of money to the club. In 2016, a rule was passed that if a club is relegated from the Premier League after just one season, a “parachute payment” is activated to cover their losses.
The main reason why the Championship play-off final is the richest and biggest match (in financial terms, of course) in football is that it allows newly promoted teams to inject funds for new players and improved stadiums. Stadiums must also meet Premier League standards and criteria – this also applies to newly promoted teams.
This gives the clubs an equal level of competition, given the class gap in the Premier League and Championship. What promoted teams spend this money on is up to them, but history suggests that clubs prefer to invest this money in players – as shown, among others, by Nottingham Forest in the 2022 transfer window which has acquired over 25 players.
Championship playoff final cash prize
The financial incentives of the Championship play-off final lead to it being called “the richest match in football”. But how much is the prize money for the final? The money doesn’t go straight to the clubs, but regardless, it’s a huge boost for all parties involved.
Much of this sum comes from TV rights, sponsorship deals and promotion bonuses to the Premier League. The Premier League generates so much money from TV revenue that £100m is guaranteed even for the last one to finish.
Depending on non-television deals, the winner of the playoff final will receive a prize money of around £135m to £265m. The Champions League winner alone will receive a prize money of £100m, depending on sponsorship deals and TV revenue generated. With such a big difference in the sums for the winner of the UCL and the winner of the Championship play-offs, apparently the play-off final has earned the title of the richest game in football.