The European Handball Federation and its exclusive media and marketing partner for EHF EURO events, Infront Sports & Media, have released record figures for the Men’s EHF EURO 2016 played in Poland in January 2016.
A cumulative audience of more than 1.65 billion people followed the action on television with the event screened in 175 territories by 75 broadcast partners. These results make EHF EURO 2016 the most-watched European Championship ever, breaking the previous record set in Serbia at the Men's EHF EURO 2012. In terms of broadcast hours, the event also surpassed all expectations with 2,958 hours of coverage aired, a 27 per cent increase on the previous high at Men's EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark.
The success of the German team in winning the title for the first time since 2004 generated huge interest across the country, 13 million tuning in to public broadcasters ARD for the final against Spain, a market share of 42 per cent. In other nations too there was widespread interest, especially Poland with a cumulative TV audience of more than 430 million, as well as traditional handball markets such as Denmark, where games shown on TV2 involving the Danish team attracted a market share of almost 70 per cent.
New spectator record
There was a real handball fever in sport-loving Poland in January 2016 as fans packed into the arenas in the host cities in Krakow, Katowice, Wroclaw and Gdansk during the two weeks of the championship.
A record 400,622 fans watched the 48 matches of the tournament live in the arenas, breaking the previous total of 316,500 set in Denmark in 2014. Fans were also able to follow the action live via public viewing and join in the party in fan zones in each of the host cities.
Digital reach tops 60 million
The EHF EURO was also a considerable success across digital and mobile channels with total audience reach climbing to over 60 million, an increase of more than 300 per cent compared to the Men’s EHF EURO 2014, and the official hashtag #ehfeuro2016 generating more than one billion impressions.
Continued investment from both the EHF and Infront in the production of engaging content across all of its digital channels as well as new innovations including coverage on Snapchat and Whatsapp ensured that the event was followed by the largest worldwide audience yet.
Online and mobile channels attracted record number of users, with the official website ehf-euro.com visited by more than one million people for the first time, an increase of 44 per cent compared to 2014, generating over 10.3 million page views.
Video content also proved to be hugely popular with 1.5 million live streams watched on ehfTV.com, the federation’s dedicated handball streaming platform, and almost 3.7 million minutes of content watched on the event’s official YouTube Channel.
Top marks for exceptional event
Commenting on the success of the event in Poland, the EHF President, Jean Brihault, said: “EHF EURO 2016 has been the biggest and the best EHF EURO event to date.
The Polish hosts invested a huge amount into the event – not just in financial terms, but also with human resources and passion for the event – and we can see this reflected not just in the record number of fans following the event live in Poland but also in the exceptional media figures.”
Andrzej Kraśnicki, President of the Polish Handball Federation and the Polish Olympic Committee, said: “EHF EURO 2016 was a big success for Poland, for our sport and handball. We worked with fantastic people and had a fantastic time. We want to thank all stakeholders including volunteers. We have one winner and the winner was handball.”
Stephan Herth, Executive Director Summer Sports of Infront Sports & Media, said: "Working with the EHF for more than two decades now, we have continuously established new records together - with this Men's EHF EURO being the most recent example. The cumulative audience of 1.65 billion exceeds the previous record in 2012 by 12 per cent. It was fascinating to see, not only how handball fever spread across Europe, but also how fans engaged with the content provided - eager to immerse themselves in the tournament."
Extensive exposure for international brands
Benefiting from the increased media reach were the event’s official sponsors including AJ (office furniture, materials handling and storage solutions), BAUHAUS (do-it-yourself store, house and garden specialist), engelbert strauss (workwear), Grundfos (leading pump manufacturer) and Intersport (sporting goods retailer). Also new to the EHF EURO events were Moneygram (money transfer and payment services) and the VELUX Group (roof windows), title sponsor of the VELUX EHF Champions League.
Sponsorship packages brokered by Infront saw the event’s official sponsors receive strong brand positioning in camera view around the court through advertising sequences on LED boards, floor stickers, static boards behind the goal and interview backdrops as well as full activation rights, corporate hospitality opportunities and tickets.
In addition to their presence in the arenas, sponsors benefited from many branding opportunities at special locations in the host cities, including fan areas in the city centres. As a result of their sponsorship agreements, Infront brought more than 4,000 VIP guests to the event.
Next stops Sweden and Croatia
The Women’s EHF EURO 2016 will be played in the Swedish cities of Stockholm, Kristianstad, Malmö, Helsingborg and Gothenburg, taking place 4-18 December 2016. The next Men’s EHF EURO event will be hosted by Croatia in January 2018.