Middlesbrough and Brighton are about to play the richest soccer game in history. Two teams, one game, a whole lotta money on the line. I’m talkin’ oil sheik money; oligarch money.
The two teams are fighting for a spot in the Premier League next year – and to the victor go the spoils: a slice of the Premier League’s $12 billion dollar TV pie.
Burnley FC has already secured a spot in the Premier League by winning the Championship, but Middlesbrough and Brighton are deadlocked with 88 points apiece.
Lucrative new domestic and international TV deals kick in next year, meaning it will literally be raining money on every team in the Premier League.
International accounting conglomerate Deloitte calculated that the team promoted will receive at least $246 million in extra money compared to not being promoted. That figure comes from the $140 million that playing in the Premier League next season is worth and $110 million in guaranteed parachute payments during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons should they be relegated after one season.
The value of being promoted from the Championship to the Premier League could swell to $420 million if the team is able to stave off relegation for just one season.
The game’s implications are not lost on either team. $250 million is the kind of money that can set a club of for long term success.
“THIS ISN’T A NORMAL GAME”
Aitor Karanka, Middlesbrough manager
No shit, Aitor.
Middlesbrough own sole possession of second place thanks to their favorable goal differential, so a draw will be good enough to put the Smoggies through to the Premier League.
There is a silver lining for the loser – whoever loses still has a chance to qualify for the Premier League via a four-team playoff that will take place over the next three weeks.
Wouldn’t chance it, though. This is one gravy train you do not want to miss.