Play-Off final gamble highlights growing gap between Premier League and EFL

Derby County and Aston Villa will compete for a potential revenue increase of up to £300m over a five-year period in Monday’s Championship Play-Off final, according to figures from Deloitte.

The report estimates that promotion to the Premier League will result in additional revenue of £170m across the next three seasons, rising to £300m over five years if the promoted club avoids relegation in its first season. 

Deloitte has published its findings on the same day that The Times revealed the growing wealth gap between those at English football’s top table and the 72 English Football League clubs. 

12 of the 20 Premier League clubs made a net profit in 2017-18, with collective record revenues of £8.4bn, while 52 out of 72 clubs in the EFL – comprising the Championship, League One and League Two – posted losses. 

In total, Premier League clubs made a profit of £304m, while the EFL clubs’ collective losses reached £388m. That is despite the significant deficits of Premier League sides  Crystal Palace and Manchester United, in the red by £36m and £37m respectively. 

Eight of the top ten most profitable clubs were playing in the Premier League in 2017-18.

Both Derby and Villa have gambled significantly on reaching the riches of the Premier League. Villa’s losses of £35m in the 2017-18 season, when it lost in the Play-Off final to Fulham, were bigger than all but seven English football teams, while Derby recorded profit only because the club’s owner, Mel Morris, bought the stadium from the club for £80m through an affiliate company. In reality, the club has sunk significant costs into its attempts to reach the Premier League over recent seasons.