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The EFL Championship

The Championship is the highest division of the English Football League and the second division in the whole English Football League System.

Originally called Division Two, it was renamed the First Division in 1992 following the formation of the Premier League. In 2004 it was re-branded as The Football League Championship and in 2015 as the English Football League Championship (or EFL Championship).

It is the wealthiest football division in the world outside the top flight of Football and has been sponsored by Sky Bet since 2013, with the current agreement due to run until 2028/29.

Championship Structure

There are 24 teams in the Championship, each playing the other teams once at home and once away throughout the season. The league is structured on a points basis. 3 points are awarded for a win, 1 for a draw and zero for a loss. At the end of the season, if teams are equal on points, they are ranked by goal difference, then goals scored, then their head-to-head record.

The top 2 teams in the Championship receive automatic promotion to the Premiership. The four teams placed 3rd to 6th then take a place in the play-offs. Semi-final matches in the play-offs are played over two legs, and the winner of each semi-final, based on the aggregate score, then goes on to the final. The winner of the play-offs receives a promotion to the Premiership.

The bottom-placed teams at the end of the season are relegated to League One.

Play-offs

The Championship play-offs are the most valuable sporting event in the world to the winners. Increased television revenues in the Premier League mean the winner can expect to be around £60 million better off than the loser.

Birmingham City had the longest tenure in the Championship, the 23/24 season marked their 13th consecutive season in the Championship, but ended with their relegation to League One. Bristol City, Preston North End and Queens Park Rangers currently have the longest tenure in the league, with 2024/25 being their 10th consecutive season.

The team in third place in the league at play-offs has achieved promotion 9 times out of 20 seasons from the league rebranding up to 2024. League position does not otherwise significantly affect the chance of promotion. The teams finishing in 4th have gained promotion five times, 6th twice, and 5th position 4 times up to the end of the 2023/24 season.

Betting on The Championship

With so much profit to be made from promotion to the Premier League, the battle for top spots in the Championship can make for exciting betting opportunities.

Bets can be placed on the outright winner of the league, and which teams will gain the coveted top 2 positions for automatic promotion. It is also popular to place bets on which teams will finish in the top 6 and make playoffs and which teams will win promotions.

At the other end of the league, it can be profitable to place bets on which teams will be relegated this season and which team will finish bottom of the League.

The top goalscorer of the league is also another gamble worth taking. The top goalscorer in the league has come from a team that hasn't gained promotion 10 times in the 20 seasons between 2004-2024.

How to Watch

EFL Championship games selected for broadcast in the UK can be watched on Sky Sports. A highlights show is also available on ITV.

In the US, matches can be watched on ESPN or on DAZN in Canada.

2024/25 Key Dates

The Championship season runs from August to May.

  • Season begins – 10th August 2024
  • Championship play-off final - 3rd May 2025

Further Information


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