TikTok and the EHF EURO

With fans spread around the world, the EHF is putting a continued focus on enhancing its digital footprint and reaching more and more people in increasingly engaging and creative ways.

One particular success story in the past couple of years has been the explosion of followers engaging on entertainment platform TikTok. Home of Handball is now the biggest handball profile on TikTok with more than half a million people following the channel. There has been a particular increase in the past year, with the audience size more than doubling in 2022 after growing 1,000 per cent in the previous 18 months.

A formal partnership between the EHF and TikTok was signed for the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 – the first of its kind in handball. As a result of the collaboration TikTok enjoyed presence on LED and cube advertising in arenas throughout the whole duration of the tournament, and a group of TikTok content creators were invited to selected matches.

The audience on TikTok was invited to participate in multiple activations including live streaming of selected matches, live chats between players and experts and additional behind-the-scenes content. A dedicated landing page for EHF EURO 2022 was available on the platform, containing, among other features, highlights and best moments of EHF EURO 2022, the greatest #HandballSkills videos, upcoming live streams and a detailed schedule of the tournament. 

The partnership was a huge success, with handball content seen over 100 million times by the end of the tournament. A clip from the group B match between Iceland and Portugal, featuring a stunning shot from Iceland’s Sigvaldi Bjørn Gudjonsson, had been viewed over 40 million times by the end of September 2022.

Overall, more than 2,700 TikToks were created and shared 131,000 times for the official hashtag challenge called #HandballSkills. Over 155,000 and 255,000 users tuned in to watch the reruns of the EHF EURO 2020 semi-finals between Croatia and Norway and Spain vs Slovenia, respectively.

"The case of the European Handball Championship clearly demonstrated that the TikTok audience has a deep desire to watch and engage with sports content and additionally showcasing the platform’s potential in the sports entertainment industry. I'm really satisfied, that – thanks to our great cooperation with the EHF – we delivered something extraordinary, bridging the online and offline experience," said Paula Kornaszewska, Head of Operations, TikTok CE.

EHF Secretary General, Martin Hausleitner, said: "We are delighted that our first ever partnership with TikTok has been so fruitful in terms of reaching and entertaining new audiences of fans across the world. The numbers speak for themselves – there is a clear thirst for handball content – whether videos or live matches – so we are hugely encouraged to see how much potential this platform has when it comes to the modern entertainment."

Younger Age Categories in spotlight

There was also increased digital focus on the year’s Younger Age Category events, notably the Men’s 20 EHF EURO in Portugal. 

As the tournament would be the last YAC championship for many of the players – several of whom are already playing at a senior level, both in club and national team competitions – it became imperative to focus the attention on their last major European tournament as juniors.

The competition was broadcast in 15 territories across Europe – more than ever before for any Younger Age Category (YAC) tournament – with worldwide coverage guaranteed through EHFTV. In total, EHFTV featured 299 YAC matches from eight tournaments.

For the M20 EHF EURO a dedicated media team member was on site, using an AI tool to clip the best actions from the matches. Video crews and a mobile reporter in Porto generated four times more content for EHF channels compared to the previous edition, and all content was also distributed to stakeholders. Overall, there were almost 3 million social media impressions across the tournament. 

A ‘summer blog’ with an emphasis on the M20 EHF EURO but also including coverage of the other YAC tournaments also ran on, acting as a hub for all tournaments.