The Championship may be only the second division of English football, but it remains a major force globally. It is the ninth richest league in Europe, and, in terms of crowds, the tenth best attended, far outstripping other global second tier competitions.
There are a number of reasons for this.
The size of the prize
In the first place, there is the size of the price, with potential promotion to the Premier League at stake, in itself the richest and most watched league in world football. Getting promoted can give a major boost to a club’s finances, with trips to Old Trafford, Anfield and the Emirates in prospect.
No wonder that the annual play-off at Wembley to decide the third team to join the two sides that have already earn promotion by right is described often as the richest game and club football.
It contains some well-known teams
At any one time, the Championship will contain teams with famous pasts that have played in the top tier for years.
Among the current members, Blackburn Rovers are former Premier League winners, whilst Burnley. Preston, Sunderland and Huddersfield Town all won it whilst it was the First Division.
Newcastle United, Leeds United and Aston Villa have all graced the Championship in the past, whilst it was not so long ago that it also featured Manchester City before their transformation into a Super Club.
Smaller clubs have a chance
At the other end of the spectrum, it gives smaller clubs a chance to appear in the limelight, with the likes of Yeovil Town, Wycombe Wanderers and Doncaster Rovers among the teams which have made it up to the Championship.
For them, every game in the Championship is like a cup tie.
It is unpredictable
Because there are 46 matches very season, a lot can happen over the course of a campaign, which makes it unpredictable and exciting. Take Nottingham Forest in the 2021/2022 campaign, bottom at Christmas, they embarked on a long winning run in the New Year, which eventually saw them finish in the play-off spots, and they were subsequently promoted.
It also means that every team in the division can beat another on its day. There are no easy games in the Championship, and, even for favourites, they go into each game with a degree of jeopardy attached to it.
The players are an eclectic mix of young talent coming through – the best of whom will be hoping to get picked off by Premier League clubs, established players who are proven performers at this level, and those who are in the latter stages of their careers, but are not ready to retire just yet.
Many second tier competitions are characterised by poor attendances, but even the lowest profile Championship match will attract a five figure crowd, whilst those where something is at stake, or a local derby, will be a sell-out.
For TV audiences at home that undoubtedly adds to the attraction, and means that nearly all Championship clubs have a small army of armchair fans.