The 2022/23 Championship season is entering its second act and a number of sides are marking down dates for the play-offs at the end of the regular campaign.
Automatic promotion to the Premier League is guaranteed by finishing in the top two, leaving those who finish slightly below to scrap it out in two-legged semi finals and then a final played at Wembley.
Play-offs have delivered extraordinary drama in the past - we all remember that Manuel Almunia penalty save and that Troy Deeney strike - and 2023 will hopefully deliver more of the same. Here's what you need to know about the process.
How does promotion and relegation work in the Championship?
Three teams are promoted from the Championship to the Premier League each season. The title winners and runners-up go up automatically with the final place determined by two-legged semi finals and a final at Wembley. Those three teams are replaced by sides relegated from the Premier League.
The three teams that finish 22nd, 23rd and 24th drop out of the Championship and down to League One, which sends up another three sides as their replacements.
When are the 2023 Championship play-offs?
The final day of the 2022/23 Championship season will take place on 6/7 May. Once the regular season table is finalised, the semi final dates will be announced. The semi finals normally kick off around a week after the final league fixtures, so the first legs should take place on the weekend of May 13/14.
The team that finishes third takes on sixth place, leaving a more balanced tie between fourth and fifth.
When is the 2023 Championship play-off final?
The winners of those two-legged clashes will face off at Wembley for the chance to reach the Premier League. The EFL has confirmed the playoff final will be played between May 27 and May 29, with an afternoon kick off expected to be confirmed.
Which teams have qualified for the 2023 Championship play-offs?
No teams have yet qualified for the playoffs with around half a season still to play. Given the notoriously competitive nature of the Championship, it's no surprise a number of teams are in contention to finish the play-off spots, which are third, fourth, fifth and sixth.
Burnley and Sheffield United are the runaway favourites for automatic promotion as things stand, with both holding points buffers over current third-place outfit Blackburn. Watford, Middlesbrough and Millwall currently take the other play-off spots, though decent runs of form could propel sides from the bottom half of the table into contention.
As of 13 January 2023.
How to watch the 2023 Championship play-offs
Sky Sports hold the broadcasting rights for Football League matches in the United Kingdom. They will show playoff games from across the Championship, League One and League Two on their various television and streaming services such as Sky Sports Football/Main Event and Sky GO.
For those in the USA, streaming service ESPN+ will show the games. A subscription costs $9.99 or $99.99 a year, with purchases available on ESPN.com or their app.
Who has the best record in Championship play-offs?
Crystal Palace have been promoted to the top flight through the play-offs four times, the most of any team.
They secured victory over two legs in 1989, with Ian Wright striking twice as they overturned a 3-1 defeat at Blackburn to edge a 4-3 aggregate victory at Selhurst Park. David Hopkin's dramatic winner in 1997 again saw them promoted, though they would drop straight back down the following year.
After dramatically beating Sunderland on penalties after the two legs ended with four goals apiece, Palace beat West Ham at the Millennium Stadium to go up. Again, however, they were unable to stay up the following season.
Their fourth and most recent triumph came in 2013 back at Wembley. Wilfried Zaha struck twice against rivals Brighton in the semi finals before Kevin Phillips' extra time penalty sent them back into the Premier League, where they've remained ever since.
How much is winning Championship play-off final worth?
It's tricky to put an exact figure on the money playoff winners receive, but for a match often nicknamed 'The Richest Game in Football', rest assured that it is a lot of money.
Play-off promotion is worth an initial £100m due to the distribution of television money in the Premier League. Should the promoted side avoid relegation the following season, that figure can double.
Back in 2020, football finance experts Deloitte claimed that year's play-offs were worth around £130m in revenue.
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Source : 90min