Championship play-off final is the world’s richest game, but Fulham stand to earn more from promotion than Aston Villa

Fulham and Aston Villa meet at Wembley with an additional revenue boost of at least £160million over the next three seasons for the victor.

The high-stakes match kicks off just a couple of hours before the Champions League final in Kiev involving Liverpool and Real Madrid.

But while prestige and glory is on the line in Ukraine, the European final can’t compete with the Championship play-off in terms of financial rewards.

Dan Jones, Partner and Head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, explained: “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.

“The difference between winning and losing for Liverpool this weekend, is a mere £4m in distributions from UEFA (with any inbound sponsor bonuses likely to be at least in part offset by outgoing player and management bonuses) and they are already assured of appearing in next year’s competition.”

While the financial gains will be massive for whoever goes up, Fulham – who finished third in the Championship behind Wolves and Cardiff – stand to gain a bigger revenue boost than Aston Villa.

The Cottagers, who were relegated from the Premier League four years ago, received their final parachute payment at the start of the current season. But Aston Villa, relegated in 2016, remain in line to receive one next season.

It means if Villa are promoted on Saturday they will forgo that additional parachute payment, meaning a minimum uplift in revenue of £160m over the next three years compared to £170m for Fulham.

Those figures, calculated by Deloitte, are a combination of extra revenue they will earn from playing in the Premier League in 2018/19 (at least an extra c.£95m, mostly from central distributions) and parachute payments in 2019/20 and 2020/21 should they be relegated in 2019 (totalling c.£75m across the two seasons).

The rewards for whichever side go up will increase dramatically if they can avoid an immediate return to the Championship next season.

Fulham and Aston Villa – and the two sides already up – will feel confident of doing so after seeing last season’s promoted trio holding their own in the Premier League this season.

In the last 10 seasons to 2017/18, 20 (67%) of the 30 promoted clubs have avoided relegation in their first season.

The uplift in revenue if they survive will go up from a minimum of £160m to £280m.

“All eyes will be on Wembley on Saturday afternoon for this winner-takes-all clash,” added Dan Jones of Deloitte. “It will be, as ever, a fantastic advert for the competitive intensity of the Championship and the financial attraction of the Premier League.”

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