Victory in Sunday’s Sky Bet Championship final could be worth at least £170m to either Huddersfield or Nottingham Forest as they compete for “the most lucrative prize in world football”.
Analysis conducted by Deloitte’s sports business group suggests future earnings for the winners could climb to over £300m over the next five seasons if they manage to retain their newfound Premier League status at the first try , which are only five of the last 10 winners have made it.
The projected figures highlight the disparity in finances between English football’s top two divisions, which has been the subject of recommendations for a fairer distribution in that country’s fan-led review of the game by Conservative MP Tracey Crouch and a key focus for the leader of the English Football League, Rick Parry.
Tim Bridge, a director at Sports Business Group, said: “Wembley are hosting the match for the most lucrative prize in world football this weekend.
“After a hard-fought season, the winner of the Championship play-off final will leave the pitch on Sunday having secured at least £170m in additional future revenue.
“Promoted teams benefit from significant financial gains that can lead to player signings, stadium improvements and more.
“However, while a slim majority of clubs promoted to the Premier League over the past decade have made it through their first season, half of the play-off final winners have not.
“As such, the winner of Sunday’s game faces the challenge of maintaining fan enthusiasm and providing financial stability in the coming months.
“This Sunday’s game is key to getting back into the top flight of English football, but the tougher battle is yet to come: staying in it.”
Deloitte’s assessment is based on estimated growth in advertising and matchday revenue for play-off final winners over three seasons of around £90m, largely driven by Premier League broadcast deal revenue and total parachute payments – Parry has backed that abolition – which they would be entitled to if they were relegated immediately, a further £80million.
That second figure is perhaps particularly relevant given that QPR, Norwich, Hull and Fulham have played just one season in the top flight twice in the past decade.
Huddersfield, who finished third in the Championship that season, were without Luton in the semi-finals while fourth-placed Forest beat Sheffield United.