If I told you a team won a championship worth nearly seven times more than the MLB’s Commissioner Trophy and 35 times more valuable than the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy in the last year, could you name the team?
The majority of people couldn’t even name the sport that I’m talking about, let alone the team itself. Fulham FC of England’s second tier professional soccer league Sky Bet Championship won a chip worth an estimated $215 million. Fulham didn’t even win the league, however it won when it counted in the lucrative playoff final to hoist them up into the promised land: the Premier League.
The English soccer system has a staggering ten tiers of soccer, with the top four being considered professional. The rest are a combination of semi-pro and amateur. At the top you have the Premier League, which hosts Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and the like.
Below the Premier League is the Sky Bet Championship. Teams here are able to be promoted and relegated throughout the divisions with lucrative prizes for the victors. In the Championship, the winner and runner up from the grueling 10-month, 46-game league play are automatically promoted to the Premier League while teams finishing in third through sixth enter a playoff system. The ultimate winner of the playoffs, in this case Fulham, receives all the glory and winnings.
The funds are roughly broken down as follows:
- – $100M+ as part of the broadcasting revenues from showing Premier League matches next season.
- – $80M+ in guaranteed “Parachute Payments.” These are payments guaranteed to the club over the following two years should it suffer relegation back to the Championship.
- – Extra funds also come in from sponsors, whether it’s newly signed contracts or existing bonus agreements from current sponsors.
While the team didn’t win a $200 million plus check, it will receive a ton of funds.However, it is 100 percent truthful to say that the English Championship playoff was, and for the foreseeable future will be, the most lucrative match in the world.
BANNER: Timmy96//Wikimedia Commons