Sheffield Wednesday can expect an instant cash boost of at least B£170million if they clinch promotion to the Barclays Premier League this weekend.
That is the value of victory to the Owls in Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final – the match regularly billed as the most lucrative one-off game in football – according to financial experts at Deloitte.
Wembley opponents Hull can also expect a huge revenue uplift if they triumph, although the value to them is less, at B£110million, as they will have to forgo parachute payments pending following relegation last year.
The record B£170million minimum promotion prize is an increase of B£40million on the figure estimated for last year owing to the rise in Premier League TV rights. The figure breaks down as B£95million for next season – mostly from central distributions but also increased commercial activity and gate receipts – and B£75million in guaranteed parachute payments if relegated. If the club avoid the drop next year, the overall figure rises to B£290million.
These riches are available to all clubs promoted to the top flight but the sudden-death nature of the play-off final exacerbates the difference between making the cut and missing out.
Middlesbrough and Brighton actually faced a similar scenario earlier this month when they met in the final round of regular season fixtures with the last remaining automatic promotion spot at stake. Boro prevailed after a 1-1 draw to join Championship winners Burnley in the top flight.
Richard Battle, senior manager in the sports business group at Deliotte, said: “The reason the figures for the play-off final and the Middlesbrough-Brighton match earlier this month are bigger than any equivalent game previously is the coming into effect of the Premier League’s new broadcast deals.
“It is a fantastic amount of money for a football club and really allows them to invest, not just in playing talent but also in the infrastructure of the club and the community as well. The financial prize of Premier League football is greater than it ever has been.”
Figures from Deloitte show how much the jackpot for winning promotion to the Premier League has increased over the years. Ten years ago the value of going up was approximately B£40million while today’s numbers dwarf those of when Wednesday last played in the top flight.
Battle said: “Sheffield Wednesday generated revenue of B£18million in the club’s last season in the Premier League, in 1999/2000.
“A win on Saturday would see them generate revenue at least six times that amount next season, and could propel them into the world’s top 30 revenue-generating clubs.”
With the commercial power of the Premier League showing no signs of abating it seems only likely to increase yet further.
Battle said: “The full stadia, global TV exposure and the will of commercial partners to pay to associate themselves with Premier League football are what make it the strongest league globally in terms of revenue generation.
“The flow from that is clubs can invest that in better players and the product becomes more appealing. That in turns drives the increases in broadcasting revenue and commercial values, so there is really a virtuous circle for the Premier League.”
How the value of promotion to the Premier League has increased (estimated figures):