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Discover why the Championship play-off final is the richest match in sport

by Josh Powell | May 24, 2013

Watford semi-finalBy Josh Powell | Crystal Palace v Watford

90 minutes is all that stands between two sides and the chance to walk out on the turf at Old Trafford, Anfield and the Emirates, be slated by Gary Neville on Monday Night Football and cash in on a massive £120 million. That’s enough to pay for Cristiano Ronaldo and a whole new back four.

Crystal Palace face Watford at Wembley on Monday evening in what is being touted as the richest game in sport. After some extensive research using the Google machine we’re fairly certain it is up there and it blows other major sporting events out of the water.

  • £120 million – Play-off Final
  • £47 million – Champions League Final
  • £1.15 million – Wimbledon winner
  • £500,000 – Grand National winner
  • £58,000 – Super Bowl winner
  • £100 – Crufts winner

It is a mind-blowing figure when you see it written down. Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will play for the greatest prize in club football on Saturday night, but in terms of winnings the play-off final is worth two and a half times more. Andy Murray probably won’t win Wimbledon, but even if he did he’d still be £118.5 million behind the victors at Wembley on Monday night.

Although we hate to burst the Championship bubble, the figure that is banded around by the press might be £120 million, but when you break that down it isn’t exactly what the clubs will be pocketing.

Play-off Final Doughnut
Breaking down the £120 million purse

Play-off final winnings

The winners will cash in on around £55 million from TV income and the right to be featured on Match Of The Day. You also get the privilege of having Mark Lawrenson projectile vomit some tired footballing cliches over the BBC’s couch and ruin your Saturday evening.

Another £5 million comes from a few glory-hunters jumping on the Premier League band wagon and the club benefits from selling tickets, replica shirts and practically anything big enough to feature the crest.

Half of the £120 million cheque is actually in parachute payments, just in case the club spectacularly fail in the Premier League and come crashing back into the Championship after nine months of getting thrashed. A bit of an unfair judgement by the Premier League considering 17 of the last 30 promoted teams have survived their first season in the top flight, but probably wise.

There is Premier League status up for grabs though and that means more than just a few bob in the Chairman’s pocket. A leap into the country’s top flight means a chance to play regularly in the biggest league in Europe and for these young players it is a huge step in their career. For some it is step too far of course, but don’t forget for every Andrew Johnson we get a Gareth Bale.

Watford are the 11/8 favourites with Crystal Palace priced up at 21/10 and it is 11/5 to be all square after 90 minutes.

Who will hold their nerve in the £120 million match? Dive in to the latest odds and take advantage of Paddy’s MBS here

MBS play-off shootout

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