Teams could become in permanent Football League wilderness if they stay down this season…
Promotion from the Championship has taken on a new significance following on from the announcement that Premier League broadcasting rights are to soar in cost to a record £5.136 billion, as reported earlier on CaughtOffside.
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With the race for promotion to the ‘promised land’ of the Premier League looking like it could go right down to the wire in this year’s second tier, today’s news will mean the reward takes on new significance.
Those teams which miss out this year could have potentially missed their chance for the foreseeable future as the distribution of wealth for Premier League sides compared to Football League sides becomes more skewed.
The Championship Playoff Final is already dubbed the ‘£120 million game’ by press, with the financial prize of reaching the biggest division in world football being enough to secure many smaller sides’ futures for years to come.
Following today’s news, the division of money between the top league and the other 72 sides in the Football League could see a financial fracture, making the hard task of competing with the spending power of the big boys all but impossible.
It is entirely possible that we could see the perennial ‘yoyo team’, such as QPR, become a more common occurrence until they build up enough capital to buy their way to survival.
With the current TV rights package there has been a rise in smaller teams seemingly accepting their relegation fate, with them being fully aware of the situation when they are relegated to the Championship.
The financial power of ‘yoyo teams’ is more than enough to out-muscle most competition following their relegation, therefore being able to mount a more sustainable Premier League challenge next time around.
Obviously the model of promotion, then relegation and then promotion again is fraught with risk in such a volatile sport and business as football and can plunge sides into incredible financial woe, but likely won’t stop many attempting it with the reward being so high.
As it is, the Premier League already pay £60 million to relegated sides over a period of four years to help ease the sharp decline in income between the two divisions, although this has come under criticism from some corners who believe it simply widens the gap of wealth in the Championship and below.
Last season we saw Wolverhampton Wanderers playing League One football, only two years after being in the Premier League, with a budget of around £25 million – which was thought to be around five times that of their nearest competitors, if you can call it competition.
Inevitably Wolves were promoted as champions and with the increased wealth in the top division, one would have thought this will happen even more in the division above.
Championship clubs currently receive £2 million each from the current Football League TV deal in place with Sky Sports and when compared to the record-breaking Premier League deal, one question emerges. How is it fair?