Press releases

All eyes on the Riverside for the biggest-ever financial prize in world football

6 May 2016

  • The winner of Middlesbrough vs Brighton & Hove Albion will secure the final automatic promotion spot to play in the Premier League next season;
  • If promoted, Brighton or Middlesbrough will benefit from future additional revenue of at least £170m, compared to what they would generate if not promoted, a new record;
  • This figure could rise to in excess of £290m if the club survives their first season in the Premier League;
  • The increase in revenue for 2016/17 could propel Middlesbrough or Brighton into the world’s top 30 revenue generating clubs.

On Saturday Middlesbrough and Brighton will battle it out in what will be the most valuable match ever in world football. According to analysis from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, promotion to the Premier League for either club will see an uplift in revenue of at least £170m and will be at least £290m if they survive their first season in the Premier League.

Richard Battle, Senior Manager in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “This has been one of the most competitive seasons in recent history at the top of the Championship. The fixture list has been kind to neutrals, who can enjoy a winner-takes-all clash at the weekend, normally only seen at Wembley in the Championship Play-Off Final. The beauty of football is its unpredictability, and it will be only when the final whistle blows at the Riverside that we will be sure which team will gain promotion to the Premier League and in turn earn football’s most lucrative prize.”

Middlesbrough and Brighton, if promoted, can expect a revenue increase of at least £170m across the next three seasons. This is a combination of the extra revenue they will earn from playing in the Premier League in 2016/17 (at least an extra £95m, mostly from central distributions) and guaranteed parachute payments in 2017/18 and 2018/19 should they be relegated after one season (totalling c.£75m across the two seasons).

Clubs promoted from the Championship this season are guaranteed a minimum of £40m more than was the case for those in the same position in 2015, owing to the Premier League’s new television rights deals commencing from the start of the next season.

Having secured promotion earlier in the week, Burnley, who are already in receipt of parachute payments in 2015/16, will see a minimum uplift in revenue totalling £110m over the next three seasons, compared to what they would have received if not promoted.

The loser of Middlesbrough vs Brighton (or, if the game is drawn, Brighton) will finish third in the league and will enter the Championship Play-Offs, joining Hull City, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday to determine the final member of next season’s Premier League. For the clubs competing in the Championship Play-Offs later this month, the potential revenue uplift would be the same (i.e. £170m) for Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday. Like Burnley, Hull City would see a smaller increase as they are also in receipt of parachute payments.

Battle added: “The prize for Middlesbrough or Brighton becomes at least £290m if the promoted club survives their first season in the Premier League. Watford and AFC Bournemouth have successfully stayed up this year, with Norwich City the only newly promoted club that is fighting relegation.”

“Promotion to the Premier League provides clubs with the resources to make strategic investments on and off the pitch. Whilst the short term priority is usually investment in the playing squad, a strong emphasis on ongoing financial stability can leave a club well positioned for the future, whether or not they survive that first season. Burnley bouncing straight back to the top flight of English football is evidence that short-term financial restraint can support medium-term success.”


Notes to editors

Finishing position for clubs in the first season following promotion to the Premier League
Season of promotion
Championship Winners
Championship Runners-Up
Play-Off Winners            


Norwich City – 19th

West Bromwich Albion – 17th

Crystal Palace – 18th


Sunderland – 20th

Wigan Athletic – 10th

West Ham United – 9th


Reading – 8th

Sheffield United – 18th

Watford – 20th


Sunderland – 15th

Birmingham City – 19th

Derby County – 20th


West Bromwich Albion – 20th

Stoke City – 12th

Hull City – 17th


Wolverhampton Wanderers – 15th

Birmingham City – 9th

Burnley – 18th


Newcastle United – 12th

West Bromwich Albion – 11th

Blackpool – 19th


Queens Park Rangers – 17th

Norwich City – 12th

Swansea City – 11th


Reading – 19th

Southampton – 14th

West Ham United – 10th


Cardiff City – 20th

Hull City – 16th

Crystal Palace – 11th


Leicester City – 14th

Burnley – 19th

Queens Park Rangers – 20th  

Note: Teams in bold avoided relegation in their first season following promotion to the Premier League.

After the end of the current season, the 25th edition of the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance will be published, providing analysis of football club’s finances in England and across Europe.

About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte
Over the last 20 years Deloitte has developed a unique focus on the business of sport. Our specialist Sports Business Group offers a multi-disciplined expert service with dedicated people and skills capable of adding significant value to the business of sport. Whether it is benchmarking or strategic business reviews, operational turnarounds, revenue enhancement strategies or stadium/venue development plans, business planning, market and demand analysis, acquisitions, due diligence, expert witness, audits or tax planning; we have worked with more clubs, leagues, governing bodies, stadia developers, event organisers, commercial partners, financiers and investors than any other adviser.

For further information on our services you can access our website at

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

George Parrett
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7007 7285

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