DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT ON THE UP FOR EHF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE IN 2020/21
EHF Champions League digital platforms recorded increased levels of engagement throughout the 2020/21 season proving the handball community’s thirst for content of the top-flight has never been higher.
With almost 750,000 followers connected to EHF Champions League channels, video content was watched 60 million times while the 11 million interactions that were recorded represented an increase of 54 per cent from the previous season.
Overall reach of EHF Champions League content was up 50 per cent on 2019/20 to over 400 million – 200 million of which came via content shared by clubs and stakeholders, further cementing the competition’s global appeal.
Handball fans’ interest in European handball’s premium competition was further underlined by the numbers watching the EHF FINAL4 Men in Cologne, which saw a 20 per cent market share in Denmark following Aalborg’s run the final of the competition in front of their TV screens.
While the EHF FINAL4 was watched by fans in 196 countries on EHFTV, the platform finished the season with more than 200,000 registered fans, who tuned in to watch live handball and highlights.
Top-flight handball spreads even further
The EHF’s overall goal of reaching and influencing younger handball was further cemented throughout the season.
EHF Champions League content was a massive hit on the Home of Handball TikTok channel, leading to a figure topping 14 million interactions and attracting over 100,000 followers and 2.2m million likes. The figures lead to a growth of 600 per cent and a 12.5 per cent engagement rate during the season.
The season also saw the birth of the EHF Champions League Weekly newsletter, which was particularly well-received by readers, with unique and click-to-open rates in line or above industry standards.
EHF Marketing Managing Director David Szlezak said: “The 2020/21 season was a massive success on and off the court and we are of course delighted that the digital engagement levels and interest in our premium club competition is showing significant and exciting signs of growth.
“To see the enormous interest in the EHF Champions League continuing to reach new audience via new mediums gives us huge encouragement as we strive towards bringing top-class entertainment to more and more handball fans around the world.
It goes without saying that we are looking forward to next season with the goal of building on this success in 2021/22.
EHF AND HOUSE OF WEB JOIN FORCES TO LAUNCH HANDBALL APP
The European Handball Federation and Austrian start-up House of Web joined forces to bring European handball to mobile phones around the globe by launching a new app.
The new app, which launched in September, follows the EHF’s ‘Home of Handball’ approach and unites Europe’s major handball competitions – from the club as well as from the national team side – under one roof.
The natively programmed app is available on iOS and Android including a dedicated version for tablets. A smooth user experience has been at the heart of the development, allowing for an easy as well as exciting entry into the world of handball with an overview about every single match in the EHF’s competitions each season.
The integration of highlights from EHFTV, as well as of live scores, club and player information, are key ingredients for an enriching user experience. The app features gamification elements and allows for each user to completely individualise his or her experience by selecting their favourite club and/or favourite competition.
It is the EHF’s proclaimed aim to offer all users the world of European handball at their fingertips while at the same time create an entry point for new fans to enter the arena and learn about the excitement of handball.
With House of Web we have an equally experienced and innovative partner on our side. We have clear goals to offer our fans an individually enriching experience. They shall always be up to date on European handball and be able to check the most recent results of their favourite club – we will give them the opportunity individualise the app as much as possible. Looking ahead, we will further increase the user experience by implementing tools such as augmented reality.
Hannes Jagerhofer, founder and CEO of House of Web, said: "We see our task in pushing forward digitalisation and to support our customers with using the offerings of the online world and its applications in a smart and meaningful way. Apps do play a central role here, as people’s mobility is constantly gaining importance. Together with the European Handball Federation we will show in user-friendly and attractive fashion, what is possible these days in this area."
OFFICIAL EHF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SONG RELEASED
In May, EHF Marketing GmbH, the marketing arm of the European Handball Federation, released 'Mesmerize', the official song of the EHF Champions League
The song was first played at the draw for the EHF FINAL4 Men 2021 and was heard at the DELO EHF FINAL4 in Budapest and the EHF FINAL4 Men in Cologne (as well as across Europe’s handball arenas as of the 2021/22 season. It is also available on all major platforms including Spotify, iTunes and Amazon Music.
The new EHF Champions League song is a great way for us to connect with our fans digitally, as most of them have to follow the EHF FINAL4 events from home. "Our vision for next season is to have a song at hand that provides our handball community with the right sound to celebrate the return of handball to arenas across Europe
'Mesmerize' impresses with a catchy synth hook line and raw and massive dancehall power, altogether providing the recipe to become a new in-arena hit and to attract a younger audience.
The song, composed by international producer team JOIN7, is the next spin-off of EHF Marketing’s ongoing partnership with German sound agency WESOUND.
It is based on the EHF brand sound, which was introduced in July 2020 to compliment the EHF’s new brand ecosystem. At its core is the 'handball sound DNA': a rhythmic interpretation of the sport’s most iconic movement, the jump shot.
Sound logos and anthems for the EHF Champions League and the EHF European League as well as opening and closing sequences for TV elements, OTT platforms and social media have already been released.
EHF BRINGS HANDBALL TO TWITCH
The European Handball Federation made the next step as part of its 360-degree digital strategy in May, announcing the launch of its own 'Home of Handball' channel on Twitch, the interactive live streaming service.
The move complements the federation’s latest efforts to grow audiences, engage and entertain them beyond the 60 minutes of the game and lay the foundation for a long term-growth of the sport.
In particular, it chimes in with recent successes to reach new fans within a younger audience which saw the EHF’s ‘Home Of Handball’ TikTok channel growing by 90,000 followers (+600%) since December 2020.
The new Twitch channel joins the ‘Home of Handball’ digital platform ecosystem, which stretches from the EHF’s website to a presence on all major social media platforms including TikTok, and follows the ecosystem’s philosophy of being the one-stop shop for the best handball content from the continent.
Our ‘Home of Handball’ ecosystem is growing and adding Twitch to it is the right move at the right time in order to grow our fanbase and reach new audiences in the future. We’re are looking forward to bringing more and exclusive European handball continent to our fans via Twitch.
With the launch of the new Twitch channel, the European Handball Federation adds another piece of the puzzle in its quest of becoming the most attractive team in sport in Europe in the next decade.
Within the handball realm, the EHF positions itself at the forefront when it comes to the presence on digital channels and once more underlines its key strategic focus to grow the appeal of the sport, particularly to younger audiences, through an enhanced digital offering.