Championship Playoffs and the promised land of the Premier League

This season’s Championship Playoffs get underway on Saturday. Aston Villa and West Brom face off in the West Midlands derby in one semi-final while Leeds United and Derby County meet in the other tie.

Both semi-finals will be played over two legs with the Championship Playoff final between the winners taking place on Monday, May 27th at Wembley.

Norwich City won the Championship title and Sheffield United came second, meaning automatic promotion for both sides.

Now, the above-mentioned four teams will battle it out for the final promotion spot and a place among England’s elite as part of the 2019/20 Premier League (PL) season.

Depending on which reports you read, promotion to the PL can be worth anywhere between £180 million to £280 million for the winning club.

The huge totals are made up of an accumulation of fees for things such as domestic broadcast deals, overseas broadcast deals, facility fees for live games during the season, an equal share of central PL commercial deals and also a merit payment received at the end of the season based on your final PL position.

Even if, like Fulham this season, a team gets relegated again after just one season in back in the PL, the introduction of parachute payments has helped teams to cope with the drop back out of the top tier of English football.

Parachute payments were brought in, like the name suggests, to allow teams a gentler landing back in the Championship should the PL adventure only last one year.

In the past, many clubs have come up and spent huge amounts in the transfer market, greatly increasing wage bills in the process, only for it to result in huge financial difficulty following relegation, away from the security of PL revenue.

Such situations called for change so clubs could be protected from collapse upon leaving the PL. Parachute payments were designed to help support their wage bills in the transition years after returning to Championship football.

Now, in a club’s first year after relegation, they get 55% of what they would have received from the central prize pool had they maintained their status in the PL.

In year two after dropping out of the PL, the club receives 45% and in year three it is 20%, if the team had managed to spend more than one season up in the PL. If they only managed the one PL season, then they just receive the first two payments mentioned over two years.

To put that in the context of figures, a club relegated from the PL last season got around £48m in parachute payments and will get £38m next season – unless immediate promotion is achieved.

The PL is the wealthiest domestic league on the planet right now. Therefore, promotion from the Championship opens clubs up to revenue streams not witnessed anywhere else in football.

In 2017/18, the PL guaranteed all participating clubs a minimum of almost £95 million, rising based upon league position. That season’s champions, Manchester City, earned just under £150 million.

The 2019/20 season will see a slight reduction in the PL’s domestic TV broadcast payments. However, the it is hoping to make up for that drop-off with improved overseas deals making up the difference, if not more.

Increased gate receipts plus massively elevated retail and commercial income as a result of a club’s PL status are just some other examples of what promotion to the top division can mean.

This season, Aston Villa and Derby County enter the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Villa lost 1-0 to Fulham in the final at Wembley.

West Bromwich Albion are looking to bounce back into the PL at the first attempt while Leeds United haven’t tasted top-flight football since their relegation in 2004.

It’s a huge week of football for those four teams. Every May we are left with memories of scenes of absolute delight and mayhem from Wembley as one team secures a spot back amongst the big boys. Looking at the figures above, it’s not hard to see why promotion back to the top tier is crucial to any club.