Date: 14 May 2017 09:33
The end-of-season mini-tournament for a place in the Premier League is potentially worth £170 million to the team that emerges victorious
The Championship play-offs are arguably the most exciting games in the English football season.
No match is more valuable than the division's play-off final at Wembley, with promotion, it was estimated last year, worth around £170 million to teams not already receiving parachute payments after relegation from the Premier League.
Mesut Ozil: I won't change my style
That applies to all five of the clubs who have secured or are in contention for a place in the play-offs this season. For one of them, the next month will be a huge one in their history.
The first game in the play-off semi-finals took take place on Saturday, May 13 when Fulham drew Reading 1-1 at Craven Cottage.
On Sunday, May 14, Huddersfield drew 0-0 with Sheffield Wednesday in the first leg of their semi-final.
|17:30||Fulham||1-1||Reading||Saturday, May 13|
|12:00||Huddersfield||0-0||Sheffield Wednesday||Sunday, May 14|
|19:45||Reading||vs||Fulham||Tuesday, May 16|
|19:45||Sheffield Wednesday||vs||Huddersfield||Wednesday, May 17|
The second legs will take place three days after the first. So, on Tuesday, Reading will be at home to Fulham and, on Wednesday, Sheffield Wednesday will meet Huddersfield at home. Both of those games will kick-off at 19:45 BST.
The final will be played on Monday, May 29, which is a bank holiday in the UK, and will be a 15:00 BST kick-off. The League Two final will be played a day earlier on Sunday, May 28, with the League One final moved forward a weekend (Saturday, May 20) to accommodate the FA Cup final on Saturday, May 27.
All of the Championship play-off matches — and, indeed, all of the Football League play-off matches altogether — will be broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK.
In the US, beIN Sports have the rights to Championship matches and will broadcast the final, though the semi-finals are yet to be confirmed. You can also watch via FuboTV, an online subscription service which includes beIN Sports.
|4||Sheff Wed (PO)||46||24||9||13||60||45||15||81|
(P) = promotion confirmed
(PO) = play-offs confirmed
Huddersfield Town were the first team - aside from the promoted sides - to guarantee their place in the Championship play-offs and have been joined by Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham.
In the semi-finals, Reading will face Fulham, who secured their place in the top six on the final day courtesy of a 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday.
The second semi-final will be a Yorkshire derby between Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield, who will be at home in the first leg after finishing in fifth position.
The Championship play-off final will be played at Wembley on Monday, May 29. Kick-off time is 15:00 BST.
RUMOURS: Griezmann agrees Utd deal
The final returned to Wembley in 2007 after six were hosted at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff while the London venue was rebuilt. Between 1987 and 1989 it had been a two-legged affair, with each team hosting a match at their home ground (though in 1987, a third leg on neutral turf was required to separate Charlton Athletic and Leeds United), before the move to the old Wembley and a single-match format in 1990.
Tickets for both the semi-finals and final will be available to buy from the clubs involved.
Each club is usually allocated around 38,000 tickets to sell to fans for the final, with prices last year ranging from £98 to £36 for adults and £49 to £18 for seniors and under-16s. The rest are reserved for the media, hospitality sections and various other dignitaries invited to the game.
Last season, Hull City secured promotion to the Premier League through the play-offs by beating Sheffield Wednesday in the final courtesy of Mohamed Diame's 72nd-minute wonder goal.
Wednesday look set to return to the play-offs this season and will look to go one better this year, while Brighton — the team they defeated in the semi-finals — have already sealed promotion and are in position to be crowned champions.
Derby County, who Hull beat in the semi-finals, have had a disappointing season and currently sit 10th in the table.
A place in the play-offs marks a significant improvement in fortunes for Huddersfield, who finished 19th in the Championship last season. The other three contenders — Fulham, Reading and Leeds — were also bottom-half clubs in 2015-16.