This month I had the pleasure of attending the #Handball final4 Champions League event in Cologne, Germany.
I was invited to speak at the European Handball Federation (EHF) Conference on the subject of sport and sports technology.
The final 4 involves the last 4 handball teams in the premier club tournament of European handball, with the semi-final played on the Saturday followed by a play off for 3rd and 4th place and the final on the Sunday.
This was my first time at a handball event so what did I learn:
- Focus on detail. The EHF had everything covered. From communication of the event to guest liaison to even having their brand on the hotel room key cards! Every detail was covered. In addition, their brand was consistently applied throughout the city, at the team hotel and at the stadium.
- Excitement of the game. The actual game of handball is extremely fast, high energy and end to end. It’s a great sport to watch with lots happening during the game.
- Engagement of the fans by the sponsors. The sponsors have totally bought into the ethos and brand of handball. They fully engage with the fans at the stadium with a combination of physical and digital activation for fans.
- Putting on a show. The opening ceremony was terrific. The highest quality of entertainment at a sporting event. In addition, there was a number of VIP and fans events during the weekend that were of high quality in terms of food, entertainment and location.
Key for the EHF is to grow participation levels across key regions while introducing the sport to new countries. In addition, the EHF should continue to grow the capacity of the Federations and clubs in terms of knowledge exchange and organisation development.
It is vital for the sport to get those sports fans who have never attended a handball game to experience it live. I was one of those guys and now I am converted to the sport of handball!
Even though this was my first time at a handball event it was obvious to see the sport is in good hands and good shape.
Geoff runs his own Sports Consultancy, working with clients such as FIFA, UEFA and FIBA across the world. He is also on the board of Tourism Northern Ireland. You can follow Geoff on twitter @geoffwnjwilson or connect on Linkedin at linkedin.com/in/geoffwnjwilson