Football League Championship
|Country||England (23 teams)|
|Other club(s) from||Wales (1 team)|
1992–2004 (as Division One)
1892–1992 (as Division Two)
|Number of teams||24|
|Level on pyramid||2|
|Promotion to||Premier League|
|Relegation to||League One|
|Domestic cup(s)||FA Cup|
|League cup(s)||Football League Cup|
|International cup(s)||Europa League (via domestic cups)|
|Most championships||Sunderland and Reading (2 titles)|
Channel 5 (Highlights Only)
|2015–16 Football League Championship|
The Football League Championship (often referred to as the Championship for short or the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the second-highest division overall in the English football league system after the Premier League. Each year, the top finishing teams in the Championship are promoted to the Premier League, and the lowest finishing teams are relegated to League 1.
The Football League Championship, which was introduced for the 2004–05 season, was previously known as the Football League First Division (1992–2004), and before that was known as Division Two (1892–1992). The winners of the Championship receive the Football League Championship trophy, the same trophy as the old First Division champions were handed prior to the Premier League's inception in 1992.
The Championship is the wealthiest non-top flight football division in the world and the seventh richest division in Europe. With an average match attendance for the 2014–15 season was 17,857, the Championship ranked slightly ahead of the German 2. Bundesliga as the most-watched secondary league in the world.
- History 1
- Structure of the league 2
Broadcasting rights 3
- UK Television 3.1
- Radio 3.2
- International 3.3
- Clubs participating in the 2015–16 season 4
- Stadiums 2015–16 5
Previous seasons 6
- League champions, runners-up and play-off finalists 6.1
- Relegated teams (from Championship to League One) 6.2
- Relegated teams (from Premier League to Championship) 6.3
- Promoted teams (from League One to Championship) 6.4
- Top scorers 7
- See also 8
- References 9
- External links 10
- For history before 2004, see Football League First Division after 1993 and Football League Second Division before that year
In its inaugural season of 2004–05, the Football League Championship announced a total attendance (including postseason) of 9.8 million, which it said was the fourth highest total attendance for a European football division, behind the FA Premier League (12.88m), Spain's La Liga (11.57m) and Germany's Bundesliga (10.92m), but beating Italy's Serie A (9.77m) and France's Ligue 1 (8.17m). The total figures were aided somewhat by the presence of 24 clubs, compared to 20 clubs in both Serie A and Ligue 1, and 18 in the Bundesliga. A major factor to the competition's success comes from television revenue.
On 30 September 2009, Coca-Cola announced they would end their sponsorship deal with the Football League at the end of the 2009–10 season. On 16 March 2010, npower were announced as the new title sponsors of the Football League, and from the start of the 2010–11 Football League season until the end of the 2012–13 season, the Football League Championship was known as the Npower Championship.
On 18 July 2013, UK bookmaker Sky Bet announced a new 5-year agreement to sponsor the league.
Structure of the league
The league comprises 24 teams. Over the course of a season, which runs annually from August to the following May, each team plays twice against the others in the league, once at 'home' and once 'away', resulting in each team competing in 46 games in total. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. The teams are ranked in the league table by points gained, then goal difference, then goals scored and then their head-to-head record for that season. In the event that two or more teams finish the season equal in all these respects, teams are separated by alphabetical order, unless a promotion, relegation or play-off place (see below) is at stake, when the teams are separated by a play-off game, though this improbable situation has never arisen in all the years the rule has existed.
At the end of the season, the top two teams and the winner of the Championship play-offs are promoted to the Premier League and the bottom three teams are relegated to Football League One. The Football League Championship play-offs is a knock-out competition for the teams finishing the season in third to sixth place with the winner being promoted to the Premier League. In the play-offs, the third-placed team plays against the sixth-placed team and the fourth-placed team plays against the fifth-placed team in two-legged semi-finals (home and away). The winners of each semi-final then compete in a single match with the prize being promotion to the Premier League and the Championship play-off trophy.
The three promoted teams are replaced in the division for the next season by the teams finishing in the bottom three in the Premier League and the relegated teams are replaced by the two teams finishing at the top of League One and the winner of the League One play-off final.
From 2009 to 2012, Sky Sports had the rights to broadcast 65 live matches, live coverage of both legs of both play-off semi finals and the play-off final live. The BBC has the rights to show 10 first choice live games for the regular season as well as the rights to show a highlight show. The deal is on a three-year contract and is worth £264m that will mostly be paid by Sky. Sky Sports will then take exclusive live rights to the Football League from 2013, having signed a three-year deal worth £195m, representing a 26% reduction in revenue from the previous joint deal between Sky and BBC. The new deal will include 75 live league games, all the play-off matches, 15 League Cup ties (including both semi-finals and the final) and selected Johnstone's Paint Trophy matches. Sky will also have highlights packages, with the free-to-air rights yet to be decided. On 5 May, it was announced a deal had been struck with the Football League and Channel 5 to show match footage, including every single goal, from matches in all three divisions of the Sky Bet Football League and is broadcast in a 90-minute show titled "Football League Tonight" which airs at 9.00pm every Saturday (and occasionally during the week). Channel 5 will also broadcast highlights of the Capital One Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Local radio stations with a local football team in The Championship usually offer audio coverage of every live game. BBC Sport holds exclusive national rights to broadcast Championship matches live to the whole of the United Kingdom; most matches are broadcast on local BBC radio stations for the area of their respective teams while some headline matches are broadcast on national stations, either 5 Live or 5 Live Sports Extra under their 5 Live Sport banner. Most matches broadcast on BBC radio are also broadcast online to UK users on the BBC website.
talkSPORT also has rights to broadcast each of the Football League Play-off Finals.
- Australia – Setanta Sports Australia broadcasts live Championship matches every weekend
- Brazil – ESPN Brasil has exclusive rights to broadcast live two Championship matches every week.
- Bulgaria – Nova Sport broadcasts live two Championship matches every week.
- Canada – beIN Sports (Canada) and Réseau des sports
- Caribbean - ESPN Caribbean
- Czech Republic – Slovak Sport
- Germany – sportdigital.tv broadcasts one or two games every week.
- India and the subcontinent, Ten Action broadcasts some of the matches in Non-HD.
- Indonesia – CPI TV has exclusive rights to broadcast live in a dozent matches, beIN Sports get the match for 100+ broadcasting around as little
- Italy – Sportitalia had exclusive rights to broadcast live one match a week and highlights show between 2005 and 2012.
- Mexico – Sky Sports Mexico has exclusive rights to broadcast live two matches.
- New Zealand – Sommet Sports has exclusive rights to broadcast all matches live or on delay.
- South America - ESPN Latin America
- Sweden – TV4 Sport shows one or two matches a week usually including a 3pm kick off on the Saturday.
- Serbia - Sport Klub shows one or two matches a week
- Slovakia – Slovak Sport
- France – LequipeTV shows one match a week.
- Norway – Viasat Fotball shows one or two matches a week.
- Romania – GSP TV shows two live matches per week.
- United States – beIN Sport broadcast one or two matches a week.
- Asia – (except Japan, Indonesia, and Korea) most games are broadcast by Goal
- Streaming – Betfair and Bet365 both broadcast matches internationally. Betfair notes that the territories to which they are able to stream events varies from sport to sport. Bet365 notes that some events are not permitted to stream within the host country.
Clubs participating in the 2015–16 season
The following 24 clubs are competing in the 2015–16 Championship.
|Club||Finishing position last season|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||20th|
|Bristol City||1st (promoted from League One)|
|Burnley||19th (relegated from Premier League)|
|Hull City||18th (relegated from Premier League)|
|Milton Keynes Dons||2nd (promoted from League One)|
|Preston North End||3rd (promoted via League One Play-Offs)|
|Queens Park Rangers||20th (relegated from Premier League)|
League champions, runners-up and play-off finalists
|Season||League champions||points||Runner-up||points||Promoted play-off winner||points||Play-off runner-up|
|2004–05||Sunderland||94||Wigan Athletic||87||West Ham United||73 (6th)||Preston North End|
|2005–06||Reading||106||Sheffield United||90||Watford||81 (3rd)||Leeds United|
|2006–07||Sunderland||88||Birmingham City||86||Derby County||84 (3rd)||West Bromwich Albion|
|2007–08||West Bromwich Albion||81||Stoke City||79||Hull City||75 (3rd)||Bristol City|
|2008–09||Wolverhampton Wanderers||90||Birmingham City||83||Burnley||76 (5th)||Sheffield United|
|2009–10||Newcastle United||102||West Bromwich Albion||91||Blackpool||70 (6th)||Cardiff City|
|2010–11||Queens Park Rangers||88||Norwich City1||84||Swansea City||80 (3rd)||Reading|
|2011–12||Reading||89||Southampton||88||West Ham United||86 (3rd)||Blackpool|
|2012–13||Cardiff City||87||Hull City||79||Crystal Palace||72 (5th)||Watford|
|2013–14||Leicester City||102||Burnley2||93||Queens Park Rangers||80 (4th)||Derby County|
|2014–15||Bournemouth||90||Watford||89||Norwich City||86 (3rd)||Middlesbrough|
1 When Norwich City gained promotion to the Premier League they were the first team to be relegated to, relegated from, promoted to and promoted from the Championship.
2 When Burnley got promoted they gained the most points for a second placed team.
For past winners at this level before 2004, see List of winners of English Football League Championship and predecessors
Relegated teams (from Championship to League One)
|2004–05||Gillingham (50), Nottingham Forest (44), Rotherham United (29)|
|2005–06||Crewe Alexandra (42), Millwall (40), Brighton & Hove Albion (38)|
|2006–07||Southend United (42), Luton Town (40), Leeds United (36)|
|2007–08||Leicester City (52), Scunthorpe United (46), Colchester United (38)|
|2008–09||Norwich City (46), Southampton (45), Charlton Athletic (39)|
|2009–10||Sheffield Wednesday (47), Plymouth Argyle (41), Peterborough United (34)|
|2010–11||Preston North End (42), Sheffield United (42), Scunthorpe United (42)|
|2011–12||Portsmouth (40), Coventry City (40), Doncaster Rovers (36)|
|2012–13||Peterborough United (54), Wolverhampton Wanderers (51), Bristol City (41)|
|2013–14||Doncaster Rovers (44), Barnsley (39), Yeovil Town (37)|
|2014–15||Millwall (41), Wigan Athletic (39), Blackpool (26)|
Relegated teams (from Premier League to Championship)
|2004–05||Crystal Palace (33), Norwich City (33), Southampton (32)|
|2005–06||Birmingham City (34), West Bromwich Albion (30), Sunderland (15)|
|2006–07||Sheffield United (38), Charlton Athletic (34), Watford (29)|
|2007–08||Reading (36), Birmingham City (35), Derby County (11)|
|2008–09||Newcastle United (34), Middlesbrough (32), West Bromwich Albion (32)|
|2009–10||Burnley (30), Hull City (30), Portsmouth (19)|
|2010–11||Blackpool (39), Birmingham City (39), West Ham United (33)|
|2011–12||Bolton Wanderers (36), Blackburn Rovers (31), Wolverhampton Wanderers (25)|
|2012–13||Wigan Athletic (36), Reading (28), Queens Park Rangers (25)|
|2013–14||Norwich City (33), Fulham (32), Cardiff City (30)|
|2014–15||Hull City (35), Burnley (33), Queens Park Rangers (30)|
Promoted teams (from League One to Championship)
Source: Championship top goalscorers
- Football League Championship Manager of the Month
- List of English football club owners
- List of attendance figures at domestic professional sports leagues – Championship attendance in a worldwide context
- "Sky Bet to sponsor The Football League". The Football League. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
- "Cumulative revenue of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues grew by 5% in 2012/13 to €9.8 billion". deloitte.com. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
- "Countdown underway to new season". BBC News. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Lansley, Peter (29 July 2005). "Championship glories in outstripping Serie A". The Times (UK). Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- First class second division TheFA.com
- Coca-Cola end Football League sponsorship deal The Guardian, 30 September 2009
- Football League names npower as new sponsor BBC Sport, 16 March 2010
- "Championship". Sporting Life. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
- Football League Agrees Historic Deal With Sky Sports and BBC football-league.co.uk press release
- BBC wins Football League contract bbc.co.uk
- Sky Sports and Football League agree £195m deal bbc.co.uk
- "The Football League signs ground-breaking deals with Channel 5 and ITN". The Football League. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- T&C's on the Betfair Live Video website
- [The FAQ on the Bet365 streaming website]
- Championship official site Football League
- Championship Fan site The Championship Fan Site
- Championship Stadia The Championship Stadia
Football League First Division
Second tier of English football
2004 – present