The Financial Times reported today that promotion to the Premier League is worth £60 million (just under $120 million today)- this consists of an extra £30 million in TV rights, plus £10 million in matchday income, plus the guarantee of “parachute payments” worth around £20 million if relegated next season. The two teams with the highest number of points over the season are promoted automatically, but the next four teams enter play-offs for a single promotion slot. After the semi-finals, this comes down to a single game (which will be played on May 28); is there any other sport with such a large financial prize for a single game?
On the relegation side of the equation, The BBC has reported that Wigan are now threatening to sue the Premier League for failing to deduct points from West Ham after the latter was fined £5.5 million for a transfer deal which breached League rules and could have been sanctioned by a 10 point deduction. Both clubs are in the relegation zone. The Premier League is a company with 20 shares, one owned by each club, so Wigan (who are trying to coordinate their action with other clubs facing relegation) are in reality threatening to sue the other clubs. Of course, none of this has ever happened before because promotion and relegation never involved such large sums of money.