Coventry vs Luton: How much money 2022/23 Championship play-off winners will earn
By Euan Burns
The EFL Championship play-off final is commonly referred to as the most lucrative game of football in the sport.
This year's final will be contested by Luton Town and Coventry City, who had few backers at the start of the season to reach Wembley. Both have suffered extreme financial difficulty in recent years but have risen up the divisions and are now one game away from making it to the Premier League.
While incredible from a sporting perspective, the financial incentives also make promotion a real money spinner. Here's how much the winners stand to earn.
Read more on the play-off hunt across the EFL
How much will the winners of the Championship play-off final earn?
Winning the Championship play-offs brings an incredible pot of prize money, but that is only where the fresh cash begins.
Premier League TV deals are the most lucrative in the world and the play-off winners will get a slice of that pie, while more sponsors will also want to work with the club. They will also pay much more than they were willing to in the Championship.
Zal Udwadia, assistant director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, told The Athletic: "This weekend’s prize will play a crucial role in helping to recruit playing talent, as well as investing in infrastructure and fan experience to give the promoted side the best chance of remaining amongst the best teams in England."
Deloitte’s Sports Business Group estimates Coventry or Luton will see an increased revenue across the next three seasons of £170m. If the promoted team can avoid getting relegated back to the Championship, that could increase to £290m.
Deloitte also says just one season in the Premier League will bring revenue of £90m. Even just staying in the Premier League for one season would generate revenue of £170m over three seasons with £80m of parachute payments to factor in.
Parachute payments last for two seasons after going down, but if a team comes up and avoids relegation for one season, they secure a third year of parachute payments in the event they do drop down to the Championship again in the future.
There are merit payments that can come for promoted teams if they do stay in the Premier League. Brentford finished 13th when they first came up in 2021/22 and that earned them a merit payment of £13m.
"Spent wisely, it's genuinely transformational money," Tim Bridge, a director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, told The Athletic in 2021. "Maintaining your position in the Premier League is the biggest prize. That's how you can create a fully sustainable football club."
Coventry and Luton's play-off journey
The Championship play-offs this season were quite unusual with a number of unfancied sides qualifying in the spots from third to sixth. Luton and Coventry weren't expected to be there, while a young Sunderland side snuck in on the final day.
The fourth team was the more experienced Middlesbrough, although they are being led by an inexperienced Michael Carrick who did very well to have them in the promotion picture at all.
Luton played Sunderland in the semi-final and lost the away leg 2-1, with Amad Diallo scoring another incredible goal for the Black Cats. They turned things around in the home leg as two first-half goals from Gabriel Osho and Tom Lockyer secured a place at Wembley.
Coventry had actually faced Middlesbrough on the final day of the regular season before they met in the play-offs. Carrick's side were probably the favourites but it was predictably tight. The first leg ended 0-0 in the Midlands, but Gustavo Hamer's goal gave Coventry victory on Teesside and they were into a historic final.
When is the Championship play-off final?
The Championship play-off final between Coventry and Luton will kick off at 16:45 BST on Saturday, May 27. For those paying attention in the USA, the game will start at 11:45 EST/ 08:45 PST.
The game can be watched in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Football and Sky Go, whilst in the USA, it will be on ESPN+.