How Much Are The Championship Playoffs Really Worth?

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Yesterday’s EFL Championship Playoff Final between Aston Villa and Derby County was portrayed as the “richest game in sport”. How much is the yearly playoff worth to the victor, Villa?

According to ESPN, the game is worth £170 million (!) across three seasons (even if a team is relegated after just one season in the English Premier League). Compared to other football competitions, it is worth vastly more (roughly three times), such as the Champions League, FA Cup and English Premier League.

Why is this?

First off, the winner will get an estimated £95 million from playing in the English Premier League for one season, thanks in large part to the very sizeable broadcasting package the league currently has in place. If the victor, such as Aston Villa, manages to stay up beyond one season, then even more riches are opened up, equating to nearly £300 million, if relegation follows beyond their first season, “parachute payments” will be worth over £100 million over two seasons.

Parachute Payments

Such payments, given to teams to soften the financial blow of being relegated, are quite unique to British football (Scottish teams also receive much lower levels of parachute payments too). In the first season after being relegated a former Premier League team will receive 55% of their broadcast payment deal, the following season 45% and in the final season, 20%. This three year structure was introduced in 2015, whereas previously, such payments (lower in value), were split across four years.

Can the English Championship Playoff Final continue to be worth such vast sums of money? For the short-term, yes. Backed up by a broadcasting deal, that despite declining in overall value, is still huge in size (over £4 billion), the Golden Game that this Playoff has become, will continue to be the most priceless game in sport.

Are The Playoffs Good For UK Football?

In a second blog post due in a number of weeks, we’ll look at the impact of Premier League promotion and parachute payments on those teams that have failed to stay in the richest league in the world, and ask, is this good for the overall health of the game in the UK?