Victory in Sunday’s Sky Bet Championship final could be worth at least £170million for Huddersfield or Nottingham Forest as they battle for ‘the most lucrative prize in world football’.
Analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group suggests future earnings for the winners could rise to over £300million over the next five seasons if they manage to retain their new Premier League status at the first attempt. , something only five of the last 10 winners have managed.
The projected figures highlight the disparity in finances between English football’s top two divisions, the subject of recommendations for a fairer split in Tory MP Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review of the game in that country and a major target for English Football League chairman Rick Parry.
Sports Business Group Director Tim Bridge said: “Wembley this weekend hosts the game with the most lucrative prize in world football.
“After a hard-fought season, the winner of Sunday’s Championship play-off final will leave the pitch having secured additional future earnings of at least £170million.
“Promoted teams benefit from huge financial gains which can be used to sign new players, improve the stadium and much more.
“However, while a small majority of clubs promoted to the Premier League over the past decade survived their first season, half of the winners of the play-off finals did not.
“Therefore, the winner of Sunday’s game will face the challenge of maintaining fan enthusiasm, as well as balancing financial stability in the months ahead.
Wembley this weekend hosts the game with the most lucrative prize in world footballTim Bridge
“This Sunday’s game holds the key to re-entering English football’s top flight, but the toughest battle is ahead: staying in it.”
Deloitte’s assessment is based on the estimated increase in commercial revenue and matchdays for the winners of the play-off final over three seasons of around £90m, largely due to revenue from the Premier League broadcast deal and the total parachute payments – Parry argued for their abolition – to which they would be entitled if relegated immediately, an additional £80million.
This second figure is perhaps particularly relevant with QPR, Norwich, Hull and Fulham having only twice enjoyed single-season spells in the top flight over the past decade.
Huddersfield, who finished third in the league this season, got rid of Luton in the semi-finals, while fourth-placed Forest got the better of Sheffield United.