The Europa League final is the richest final at the top tier of world football.
Yes, it's true. The Europa League final provides the greatest financial benefit – more than the World Cup final and the Champions League final – and frankly, it's not even close. Depending on whether Liverpool or Sevilla wins the match in Basel on Wednesday, the guaranteed checks coming from UEFA will add up between $35 million and $45 million for the champion.
In the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil, Germany beat Argentina and collected only an extra $13 million in prize money compared to third-place Netherlands. The Champions League final winner collects an additional $17 million over the eliminated third- and fourth-place semifinalists. While those figures are hardly worth scoffing at, the Europa League final is simply worth more than either of those far more prestigious finals.
Prize money for the 2016 Europa League final will initially start at $21.1 million alone in guaranteed bonuses for participation and winning the game.
The Europa League winner will also gain automatic entry into the group stage of the 2016-17 Champions League. That spot brings with it a guaranteed group stage participation share of $13.7 million per team. Add in the $7.4 million purse for winning the 2016 Europa League final, and the total prize money for a victory jumps to $21.1 million – at minimum. That figure already tops the financial rewards for winning the World Cup final and the Champions League final, and that number does not even include the winner’s share of the television and marketing revenue pool.
The Premier League shares its money slightly more evenly than La Liga, which is not exactly breaking news, but that means that the winner of Wednesday’s final will eventually earn drastically different bonuses.
During the 2014-15 season, Athletic Bilbao did not advance past the group stage of the Champions League and earned $11.7 million as a take home bonus from the television and marketing revenue pool. That same season, Liverpool also got the boot in the group stage of the Champions League, but the Premier League provided the Reds with $26.2 million as a television and marketing bonus, which was more than double what their La Liga counterparts earned.
Add that up, and Liverpool expects to earn a guaranteed base sum of roughly $45 million with a Europa League title. For Sevilla, the guaranteed prize money is closer to $35 million. Of course, add-ons for playing in the UEFA Super Cup ($2.5 million) and for every victory ($1.1 million) and draw ($560,000) in the Champions League group stage can push those numbers even higher. Also, the revenue associated with hosting an additional three Champions League games would substantially add to the financial benefits of winning the Europa League.
Even ignoring all the potential add-ons and residual revenue that will eventually find its way into the winners' laps, the Europa League final, with a reward between $35 million and $45 million, makes it the richest final in the top tier of world football.