Football League Championship

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"Coca-Cola Championship" redirects here. For the South African golf tournament, see Coca-Cola Charity Championship.
Football League Championship
Sky Bet Championship.png
Country  England (23 teams)
Other club(s) from  Wales (1 team)
Founded 2004–present
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)
Current champions AFC Bournemouth
Most championships Sunderland and Reading (2 titles)
TV partners Sky Sports
Channel 5 (Highlights Only)
Website Official site
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)[1] 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.[2] With an average match attendance for the 201415 season was 17,857, the Championship ranked slightly ahead of the German 2. Bundesliga as the most-watched secondary league in the world.[3]

In the 2014–15 season, A.F.C. Bournemouth were the division champions, Watford were the runners up, and Norwich City were the promotion play-off winners.


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).[4][5][6] 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.[citation needed]

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.[7] 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.[8]

On 18 July 2013, UK bookmaker Sky Bet announced a new 5-year agreement to sponsor the league.[1]

Structure of the league[edit]

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.[9]

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.

Broadcasting rights[edit]

UK Television[edit]

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]


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 – Diema broadcasts live two Championship matches every week.
  • Canada – beIN Sports (Canada) and Réseau des sports
  • Caribbean - ESPN Caribbean
  • Czech Republic – Slovak Sport
  • Germany – 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.[14] Bet365 notes that some events are not permitted to stream within the host country.[15]

Clubs participating in the 2015–16 season[edit]

The following 24 clubs are competing in the 2015–16 Championship.

Club Finishing position last season
Birmingham City 10th
Blackburn Rovers 9th
Bolton Wanderers 18th
Brentford 5th
Brighton & Hove Albion 20th
Bristol City 1st (promoted from League One)
Burnley 19th (relegated from Premier League)
Cardiff City 11th
Charlton Athletic 12th
Derby County 8th
Fulham 17th
Huddersfield Town 16th
Hull City 18th (relegated from Premier League)
Ipswich Town 6th
Leeds United 15th
Middlesbrough 4th
Milton Keynes Dons 2nd (promoted from League One)
Nottingham Forest 14th
Preston North End 3rd (promoted via League One Play-Offs)
Queens Park Rangers 20th (relegated from Premier League)
Reading 19th
Rotherham United 21st
Sheffield Wednesday 13th
Wolverhampton Wanderers 7th

Stadiums 2015–16[edit]

The trophy received by the winners of the Championship
Team Location Stadium Capacity
Birmingham City Birmingham St Andrew's Stadium 30,016
Blackburn Rovers Blackburn Ewood Park 31,154
Bolton Wanderers Bolton Macron Stadium 28,723
Brentford Brentford Griffin Park 12,763
Brighton & Hove Albion Brighton The Amex 30,750
Bristol City Bristol Ashton Gate 16,600
Burnley Burnley Turf Moor 22,546
Cardiff City Cardiff Cardiff City Stadium 33,280
Charlton Athletic Charlton, London The Valley 27,111
Derby County Derby iPro Stadium 33,597
Fulham Fulham, London Craven Cottage 25,700
Huddersfield Town Huddersfield John Smith's Stadium 24,500
Hull City Kingston-upon-Hull KC Stadium 25,586
Ipswich Town Ipswich Portman Road 30,311
Leeds United Leeds Elland Road 37,369
Middlesbrough Middlesbrough Riverside Stadium 34,988
Milton Keynes Dons Milton Keynes Stadium mk 30,500
Nottingham Forest Nottingham City Ground 30,602
Preston North End Preston Deepdale 23,404
Queens Park Rangers Shepherd's Bush, London Loftus Road 18,439
Reading Reading Madejski Stadium 24,200
Rotherham United Rotherham New York Stadium 12,021
Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield Hillsborough 39,812
Wolverhampton Wanderers Wolverhampton Molineux 31,700

Previous seasons[edit]

League champions, runners-up and play-off finalists[edit]

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)[edit]

Season Clubs
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)[edit]

Season Clubs
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)


Season Clubs
2004–05 Luton Town (98), Hull City (86), Sheffield Wednesday (Play-off winners) (72)
2005–06 Southend United (82), Colchester United (79), Barnsley (Play-off winners) (72)
2006–07 Scunthorpe United (91), Bristol City (85), Blackpool (Play-off winners) (83)
2007–08 Swansea City (91), Nottingham Forest (82), Doncaster Rovers (Play-off winners) (80)
2008–09 Leicester City (96), Peterborough United (89), Scunthorpe United (Play-off winners) (76)
2009–10 Norwich City (95), Leeds United (86), Millwall (Play-off winners) (85)
2010–11 Brighton & Hove Albion (95), Southampton (92), Peterborough United (Play-off winners) (79)
2011–12 Charlton Athletic (101), Sheffield Wednesday (93), Huddersfield Town (Play-off winners) (81)
2012–13 Doncaster Rovers (84), Bournemouth (83), Yeovil Town (Play-off winners) (77)
2013–14 Wolverhampton Wanderers (103), Brentford (94), Rotherham United (Play-off winners) (86)
2014–15 Bristol City (99), MK Dons (91), Preston North End (Play-off winners) (89)

Top scorers[edit]

Season Top scorer Club Goals
2004–05 Nathan Ellington Wigan Athletic 24
2005–06 Marlon King Watford 21
2006–07 Jamie Cureton Colchester United 23
2007–08 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Plymouth Argyle / Wolverhampton 23
2008–09 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Wolverhampton Wanderers 25
2009–10 Peter Whittingham Cardiff City 20
Nicky Maynard Bristol City
2010–11 Danny Graham Watford 24
2011–12 Rickie Lambert Southampton 27
2012–13 Glenn Murray Crystal Palace 30
2013–14 Ross McCormack Leeds United 28
2014–15 Daryl Murphy Ipswich Town 27

Source: Championship top goalscorers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sky Bet to sponsor The Football League". The Football League. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Cumulative revenue of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues grew by 5% in 2012/13 to €9.8 billion". Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Countdown underway to new season". BBC News. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Lansley, Peter (29 July 2005). "Championship glories in outstripping Serie A". The Times (UK). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  6. ^ First class second division
  7. ^ Coca-Cola end Football League sponsorship deal The Guardian, 30 September 2009
  8. ^ Football League names npower as new sponsor BBC Sport, 16 March 2010
  9. ^ "Championship". Sporting Life. Retrieved 2 April 2008. 
  10. ^ Football League Agrees Historic Deal With Sky Sports and BBC press release
  11. ^ BBC wins Football League contract
  12. ^ Sky Sports and Football League agree £195m deal
  13. ^ "The Football League signs ground-breaking deals with Channel 5 and ITN". The Football League. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  14. ^ T&C's on the Betfair Live Video website
  15. ^ [The FAQ on the Bet365 streaming website]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Football League First Division
Second tier of English football
2004 – present
Current league