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The richest game in the world of football is not the one you think

Bloomberg — When the most lucrative game in world soccer kicks off this weekend in one of Europe's biggest stadiums, the teams taking to the field


Bloomberg — When the most lucrative game in world soccer kicks off this weekend in one of Europe’s biggest stadiums, the teams taking to the field might not be the ones you think.

Aristocrats Liverpool and Real Madrid will battle to lift the continent’s biggest trophy in the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday night. However, it will be the culmination of the second-tier English Championship, in a game between Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town at Wembley, London, the following afternoon, that will enrich the winner the most.

In the precarious world of soccer finance, the windfall gives clubs the opportunity to invest the kind of money in players and stadium improvements that others dream of. The winner will receive more than £100m in broadcast revenue next season and is backed by an £80m payout if he ends up being relegated.

The trick is to make sure they spend enough to stay in the Premier League, but don’t cripple themselves financially if they don’t. Of the three teams that were promoted from the Championship last season, two were directly relegated.

Forest were European champions in 1979 and 1980, but have been absent from the top flight for more than two decades. Huddersfield were last in the Premier League three years ago. Forest is favorite to win at bookmakers.

The trick is to make sure they spend enough to stay in the Premier League, but don’t cripple themselves financially if they don’t. Of the three teams that were promoted from the Championship last season, two were directly relegated.

Forest were European champions in 1979 and 1980, but have been absent from the top flight for more than two decades. Huddersfield were last in the Premier League three years ago. Forest is favorite to win at bookmakers.

By contrast, competing in the Champions League final is the crowning achievement in European football, but the financial rewards for winning it are certainly not that great for an English club. Last year, six Premier League clubs took part in the failed European Super League, a Real Madrid-led project that would have knocked 15 of the continent’s top teams out of the Champions League.

Most of the prize money Liverpool could collect from victory in Paris is already in their pocket, with the winnings coming after each round of the tournament. A win could garner a few million pounds more, but that’s only if the club go on to win two other competitions next season involving the Champions League winner – one against the Europa League winners and one against clubs from other continents.

Real Madrid’s path to the final has already been characterized by two surprising comebacks in the final minutes against two English teams, Chelsea and Manchester City. However, UK bookmakers favor Liverpool to lift the trophy.