The Sky Bet Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Fulham on Saturday is worth approximately £170m for the winners.
Villa and Fulham hope to join Wolves and Cardiff in the Premier League next season and the prize on offer in the annual winner-takes-all clash at Wembley is still the biggest in world football.
“We are going to have an opportunity to play the most important game in the last few years for us,” said Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic. “We know how we are going to find it and at the end, what we want is to win.
A Villa vs Fulham
May 26, 2018, 4:00pm
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“People only remember winners, no one remembers the team that lost the final. It is one of the most important games in our careers.”
Remember, you can watch Aston Villa v Fulham on Saturday on Sky Sports Football from 4pm (kick-off at 5pm).
The winners will benefit from future additional revenue of approximately £170m across the next three seasons, which could rise to in excess of £280m if they survive their first season in the Premier League.
This is a combination of:
Extra revenue they will earn from playing in the Premier League in 2018/19 – at least an extra £95m, mostly from central distributions.
Parachute payments in 2019/20 and 2020/21 should they be relegated after one season – totalling an estimated £75m across two seasons.
“All eyes will be on Wembley on Saturday afternoon for this winner-takes-all clash,” said Deloitte’s head of the sports business group Dan Jones. “It will be, as ever, a fantastic advert for the competitive intensity of the Championship and the financial attraction of the Premier League.”
Championship v Champions League
Jones said the financial rewards for the winners of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in Kiev later on Saturday pale in comparison.
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship playoff semi-final second leg between Fulham and Derby County
“Whilst in football terms the UEFA Champions League final is the bigger game, the financial rewards on offer in Kiev are dwarfed by those at stake in north London,” Jones added.
“The difference between winning and losing for Liverpool this weekend, is a mere £4m in distributions from UEFA and they are already assured of appearing in next year’s competition.”
Cardiff and Fulham both received their final parachute payments in the 2017/18 season, having been relegated from the Premier League in 2014.
Champions Wolves are not currently in receipt of parachute payments, having been relegated to the Championship in 2012, while Aston Villa received their second of three parachute payments in the 2017/18 season having been relegated in 2016.
As a result, Cardiff, Fulham and Wolves can expect a minimum revenue uplift of around £170m over three years if relegated from the Premier League after just one season, Deloitte said. For Villa, it could be more like £160m.
“The financial prize for Fulham or Aston Villa, as well as Wolves and Cardiff, becomes at least £280m if they survive the first season in the Premier League,” added Deloitte’s sports business group consultant Sam Boor.
“This figure could rise further once the Premier League concludes the sale of all live broadcast rights.
How will the winners fare?
Jones adds: “Huddersfield, Brighton and Newcastle all successfully stayed up this year, a rarity, and any club that enjoys a sustained period of Premier League participation will challenge for a place in the top 30 of Deloitte’s Football Money League.”
This is the first play-off final either side have been involved in, but what does history tell us about the winning side, and the other sides who have gained promotion?
Finishing positions of clubs in first Premier League season Season Winner Runner-up Play-offs 2006/07 Sunderland (15) Birmingham (19) Derby (20) 2007/08 West Brom (20) Stoke City(12) Hull City (17) 2008/09 Wolves (15) Birmingham (9) Burnley (18) 2009/10 Newcastle (12) West Brom (11) Blackpool (19) 2010/11 QPR (17) Norwich (12) Swansea (11) 2011/12 Reading (19) Southampton (14) West Ham (10) 2012/13 Cardiff (20) Hull (16) Crystal Palace (11) 2013/14 Leicester (14) Burnley (19) QPR (20) 2014/15 Bournemouth (16) Watford (13) Norwich (19) 2015/16 Burnley (16) Middlesbrough (19) Hull (18) 2016/17 Newcastle (10) Brighton (15) Huddersfield (16)
The question of FFP
Villa were of course ever-presents in the Premier League before relegation in 2016, though there have been questions around FFP issues, which could become louder if they fail to win on Saturday.
Villa had recently suffered from their big-spending during Martin O’Neill’s years at the club, but Villa chief executive Keith Wyness said in January that although failure to promotion would be “challenging” for the budget, they would not be in breach of FFP.
“There would be a smaller amount of money for the squad [if Villa didn’t go up],” Wyness said. “We have enough already that we believe we can still build a strong squad. It is nothing we are overly concerned about.
“We have the strategy in place. I have always said next season will be challenging [if we don’t go up] but we have a strategy. If we get promoted things will take care of themselves.”
Watch Aston Villa v Fulham on Saturday on Sky Sports Football from 4pm (kick-off at 5pm).