CONCACAF will award $1.2M in prize money to Champions League semifinalists

Club America - CONCACAF Champions League - trophy - celebration

CONCACAF announced on Wednesday that a prize money pool of $1.2 million will be doled out to the semifinalists for the 2016-17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. The winning team will earn $500,000, with the runner-up earning $300,000 and the other two semifinalists taking home $200,000 each.

The prize money awarded to the semifinalists is a significant increase over what teams had been given before and is part of a larger investment of $5.5 million by CONCACAF into the 24-team Champions League competition. Much of the rest of that money will be earmarked for traveling expenses and other operating expenses.

“We understand that investment in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League will pay dividends quickly, in further supporting clubs by compensating them for their monumental efforts and success in reaching the Champions League,” said CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani in a statement. “In speaking with and listening to our participating clubs and Member Associations, we understand the importance -- in addition to cash prizes for teams reaching the final rounds of the competition – of also supporting the clubs by increasing the travel stipend across the board, to help offset the rising costs of travel across the region.”

The draw for the 2016-17 tournament took place in Miami last month. The upcoming tournament's group stage play will begin in early August, with the full schedule set to be released in the coming weeks. Five MLS teams -- Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers are participating in the tournament. Club America of Mexico is the two-time defending champion of the competition, but did not qualify for the 2016-17 edition.