The appeal of playing Premier League football is obvious. After all, who wouldn’t want to be rubbing shoulders with Manchester City and Arsenal while paying visits to Old Trafford and Anfield on an annual basis?
There are, however, only 20 tickets to that particular party up for grabs in any given year, with the value of said entry passes increasing in value with each passing campaign. The gap between the haves and have-nots continues to grow ever wider, with the breadth of a financial bridge that separates just one place in the Football League standings now extending into nine-figure territory.
— Nottingham Forest (@NFFC) May 29, 2022
The race is very much on to cross that divide in 2022-23, with Championship odds narrowed on the battle to secure a winning ticket in the play-off lottery. Several sides remain in the hunt for a jackpot win, with +163 market leaders Middlesbrough heading a queue that also includes +200 shots Luton and +500 Coventry. Separating contenders from pretenders within football tips is never easy when there is so much at stake, with four ambitious outfits set to scrap it out for one spot among the elite.
Success means everything, while failure can prove seriously deflating. One game of football – which is often all over in the space of just 90 minutes – will either lay the foundations on which long-term success is built or leave best-laid plans in tatters.
For some time now, the Championship play-off final has been billed as the richest game in world football, and it is easy to see why. Few contests, across any sport, can claim to be so all or nothing in nature. To the victors go the spoils, while the losers are left to mull over what could have been.
There was a point not all that long ago when victory at Wembley Stadium in a second tier showpiece was said to be worth around $126 million to any side fortunate enough to emerge triumphant. With ever-increasing amounts of money being pumped into the Premier League, that figure has been heading in just one direction.
— Wembley Stadium (@wembleystadium) April 28, 2023
Victory on the play-off final day is now reported to line the pockets of one lucky team to the tune of $214m. Much of that bumper cash pot is guaranteed, with TV revenue being split evenly between all 20 sides that line up in the Premier League. Surviving just one season in the big time bolsters the coffers even further.
Merit payments also need to be taken into account, with final standings dictating how much is dished out there, while facility fees are factored into television coverage – with success on the field directly linked to progress off it.
That has always been the case, with there being some things that never change. It is, however, no longer title winners or those competing in a continental competition that monopolizes slices of a sporting pie, with there now enough food on offer at the Premier League’s top table to satisfy the biggest of appetites. It is just getting hands on a menu that continues to pose the biggest challenge.