The European Handball Federation (EHF) and its media and marketing partner Infront Sports & Media have achieved a cumulative audience of 723 million for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014, which is the highest ever result for the championship. The result marks not only a 90 per cent increase on the 2012 edition (380 million), but also significantly tops the previous record set in 2006 (461 million).
In terms of broadcast hours, the results are equally remarkable. With 1,919 broadcast hours, the women’s 2014 tournament in Hungary and Croatia further confirms its upward trend through an impressive 65 per cent climb of 758 hours compared to 2012. Overall, the tournament was aired in 145 countries, following agreements brokered by Infront with 85 broadcasters receiving an HDTV signal produced with up to 15 cameras per match.
Record year in exposure for EHF EUROs
The strong increase is a result of the successful, market-by-market sales approach by Infront, which has seen amuch broadened reach in South America, as well as intensified news coverage worldwide. Together with the Men’s EHF EURO, 2014 was the strongest year in terms of exposure for European handball, totalling 4,252 broadcast hours.
Jean Brihault, EHF President, commented: “These extremely positive audience figures underline once again the huge worldwide following that the EHF EURO events enjoy, whilst at the same time showing us just how popular the women’s game is with TV audiences.
“The continued investment by the EHF and our partners Infront in digital media is also paying dividends, helping us to attract an ever-increasing number of new fans to our sport.”
Stephan Herth, Executive Director Summer Sports at Infront, commented: “These achievements are the result of our sustainable, development-focused collaboration with the EHF and underline the growing popularity of women’s handball in Europe and beyond.
“This is particularly true as these results are not a one-off, but rather proof of the continuous increase in both cumulative audience and broadcast hours during the last 20 years of our partnership. At the same time, we are triggering progress through an impactful digital strategy, resulting in a parallel growth of traditional TV and digital media reach.”
More visitors across all digital channels
Overall, the digital campaign for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 resulted in improved visitor numbers across all available platforms. Strong fan engagement has been fostered even further through the tournament’s social media outreach across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The re-launched official championship website at www.ehf-euro.com attracted more than 3.3 million page views from 275,000 unique visitors. Particularly striking was the increase in the number of mobile users, benefitting from the website’s new responsive design.
Streaming was offered through the dedicated ehfTV.com channel, with in excess of 550,000 video streams watched live and on-demand. In addition, handball fans were able to enjoy near-live clips and daily programme teasers together with special highlights on the championship’s official YouTube Channel, resulting in more than 2.3 million minutes of video watched.
Official sponsors benefit from increased exposure
The increased exposure was beneficial not only for the sport and its fans but also the eight official sponsors that Infront had secured for the women’s championship: Actavis (generic pharmaceuticals), AJ (office furniture), Bauhaus (workshop, house and garden specialist), bring (transport, warehousing and logistical services), engelbert strauss (workwear), Gjensidige (insurance), Grundfos (pump systems) and Intersport (sports goods retailer).
The next edition of the Men’s EHF EURO will be played in Poland from 15 to 31 January 2016, with qualification for the event continuing from the end of April 2015. The Women’s EHF EURO 2016 will be played in Sweden from 4 to 18 December 2016, the first qualification phase throws off in June 2015.