Any football fan worth their salt knows that the Championship playoffs are among the most exciting series of games in any season's calendar. With hundreds of millions of pounds and the prestige of playing in the Premier League at stake, teams give everything they have to secure the prize.
Heroes have been born in the playoffs and legacies cemented, but there is lasting heartache too, with some teams left to rue missed opportunities for another year at least.
In anticipation of the 2022-23 Championship play-offs, GOAL brings you everything you need to know, including fixture dates, teams, where to watch on TV and stream live and more.
What are the Championship play-offs?
The Championship play-off stage is a mini-tournament which is held each season to determine the third and final promoted team from the Championship to the Premier League.
While the top two teams in the league are automatically promoted, the teams that finish third to sixth compete against each other for the right to that season's last promotion spot.
Two semi-finals (each involving a home and away leg) are followed by a winner-takes-all final.
The third-placed team is paired with the sixth-placed team in one semi-final, with fourth place playing fifth place in the other semi-final.
Which teams qualified for the 2023 Championship play-offs?
The season is now complete which means all the play-off spots have now been decided.
Championship 2022-23 table
|1||Burnley (C, P)||46||29||14||3||+52||101|
|2||Sheffield United (P)||46||27||7||11||+34||91|
|3||Luton Town (Q)||46||21||17||8||+18||80|
|5||Coventry City (Q)||46||18||16||12||+12||70|
|9||West Bromwich Albion||46||18||12||15||+6||66|
Last updated: May 8, 2023, 17:20pm BST
The Championship is a notoriously competitive league and the makeup of the playoff teams is therefore always in flux. This season, Vincent Kompany's Burnley were the first team to secure automatic promotion and claimed their title as league champions when they beat Blackburn. Sheffield United ensured they will follow the Clarets up to the top flight a day after Burnley clinched the title.
Luton Town and Middlesbrough were the first two teams to secure their play-off places and were joined by Coventry and Sunderland after a dramatic final day of action in the Championship.
When are the Championship 2023 playoffs?
The 2023 Championship playoffs will take place on May 13/14 (semi-final first legs) and May 16/17 (semi-final second legs), with the final following on May 27.
Sunderland defeated Luton 2-1 on May 13 at the Stadium of Light, but Luton stormed back in the return at Kenilworth Road to advance 3-2 on aggregate. Coventry, meanwhile, drew 0-0 against Middlesbrough on May 14, before defeating them at the Riverside for the second leg on May 17.
When & where is the Championship 2023 playoff final?
|When:||May 27, 2023|
|Kick-off time:||4:45pm BST / 11:45 ET|
|Venue:||Wembley Stadium, London|
The 2023 Championship playoff final will be played on Saturday, May 27, 2023 at 4:45pm (BST).
It will be one of a number of playoff finals in the EFL, with promotion deciders to be played in League Two and League One too.
Wembley Stadium traditionally hosts the Championship playoff final and will continue to be the venue in 2023. Boasting a capacity of 90,000, Wembley has attracted sell-out crowds for the Premier League promotion game, with some of England's biggest teams gracing the stage.
Known as 'The Home of Football' in England, Wembley is one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world, playing host to some of the biggest games, including the European Championship and Champions League finals.
Championship play-off fixtures & results
You can see the full list of Championship 2023 play-off fixtures below.
Championship play-off semi-finals
|May 13||Sunderland 2-1 Luton Town||Sky Sports Football / ESPN+|
|May 14||Coventry City 0-0 Middlesbrough||Sky Sports Football / ESPN+|
|May 16||Luton Town 2-0 Sunderland||Sky Sports Football / ESPN+|
|May 17||Middlesbrough 0-1 Coventry City||Sky Sports Football / ESPN+|
Luton Town came back from defeat in the first leg against Sunderland to win their semi-final 3-2 on aggregate, while Coventry City edged a keenly contested tie with Middlesbrough.
Championship play-off final
|May 27||Luton Town vs Coventry City||Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football / ESPN+|
Luton Town will play Coventry City in the Championship 2023 play-off final.
Coventry have not been in the Premier League since the 2000-01 season, while Luton Town have not featured in England's top division since the 1991-92 campaign.
Where to watch Championship 2023 playoffs on TV & live stream
Sky Sports has the broadcasting rights to Football League matches in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Championship playoffs will be shown live on Sky Sports Football/Main Event and available to stream live online using Sky GO. Sky Sports Main Event can be accessed on channel 401 and Sky Sports Football is channel 403.
Streaming service ESPN Plus (ESPN+) will show the Championship play-off semi-finals and final in the United States (U.S). A subscription to ESPN+ costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year and can be purchased through the ESPN app or on ESPN.com.
How much is winning the Championship playoffs worth?
Winning the Championship play-offs is initially worth in the region of £100 million ($120m) thanks to the distribution of TV money among Premier League clubs. That figure can double should the newly-promoted team manage to avoid immediate relegation. You will often hear commentators dub the playoff final 'The Richest Game in Football' as a result.
Of course, revenue streams flow quicker for teams in the Premier League, with the allure for potential sponsors and commercial partners growing overnight.
Who won the Championship playoffs in 2022?Getty
Nottingham Forest defeated Huddersfield Town in the 2022 Championship playoff final, winning the game 1-0 in front of an 80,000-strong crowd. The victory ensured Forest's return to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years.
It was a game to forget for Huddersfield's Levi Colwill, whose own goal was the difference between the sides. Huddersfield felt somewhat aggrieved with the result in light of the fact they had not one, but two penalty claims denied, but Forest held on to claim an historic triumph.
The City Ground outfit subsequently joined Fulham and Bournemouth as one of the three newly-promoted teams in the Premier League for 2022-23.