Sheffield Wednesday will play against Hull City in the Championship playoff final for a place in the Premier League in a game which will provide a massive cash windfall for the winners.
Wednesday’s victory against Brighton & Hove Albion secured their place in this year’s Championship play-off final, while City progressed to the one game shoot-out at Wembley after easing past Derby County in their semi-final.
The winners of the final will be promoted to the Premier League and gain access to untold riches.
With a new $7.44 billion TV deal coming into force next season, the rewards for promotion have never been greater.
Despite finishing bottom of the Premier League this season, Aston Villa pocketed $95.6 million in prize money.
Next season the team finishing 20th will earn $145 million – the same as Leicester City received for winning the league this time around.
Parachute payments for any team relegated from the league will be a staggering $108.6 million over two years.
With increased matchday revenues, coupled with new sponsorship and commercial deals, the playoff game is financially the biggest prize in football today.
Clubs who stay up for another season can expect to rake in around $435 million.
City finished nine points ahead of Wednesday during the regular season, although there was nothing between the teams when they faced each other.
The pair fought out a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough back in October, with February’s return at the KC Stadium finishing goalless.
Wednesday are bidding to return to the Premier League after 16 years out of the top flight.
Thai businessman Dejphon Chansiri has bankrolled the club since taking over from Milan Mandaric two years ago. Chansiri had targeted promotion by 2017, the year of the club’s 150th anniversary.
Portuguese coach Carlos Carvalhal has invested heavily in the club’s playing squad, bringing in the likes of Fernando Forestieri and Marco Matias for seven-figure sums.
The Tigers are looking to bounce back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Steve Bruce has spent shrewdly this season, selling the likes of James Chester, Robbie Brady and Tom Ince and bringing in Moses Odubajo, Sam Clucas and the experienced Shaun Maloney.
Bruce has raised over $38 million in transfer income, while spending just $10 million on players, but he has comfortably guided Hull into the play-off final.
Both Wednesday and City will hope the new found wealth promotion brings will lead to them becoming established Premier League clubs.
Two of last year’s promoted teams, Bournemouth and Watford, have comfortably retained their status and the rise in income next season could further level the playing field.
While England’s top teams compete with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich for the world’s best players, those further down the table have been able to attract talents like Dimitri Payet, Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri – something which would have been unthinkable a few seasons ago.
Hull have been in fine form in recent weeks and will go into the game as favorites, but Wednesday have also been playing well with just three defeats in their last 16 games and could easily upset the odds.
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