EHF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Looking back on a successful year

2016 was to prove a pivotal year for the development of the EHF’s flagship club competition, the VELUX EHF Champions League.

A new playing system, introduced in the 2015/16 season, saw the number of teams increase to 28 with two groups with each eight teams (A/B) including the top teams of the top leagues and two groups with six teams each (C/D).

The aim: more top level and equal matches, new markets and a higher profile for Europe’s premium club competition.

By the end of the season it became clear that these changes had been a success. An additional 200,000 spectators followed the action live in arenas across Europe – the highest number ever in the history of the competition.

The improvement in the competition, together with the commitment of TV partners led to a 50 per cent increase in the number of hours of match action shown as well as an increase in cumulative TV figures.

Interest in online streaming through the official EHF channel www.ehfTV.com also rose tremendously – a 96 per cent increase on the previous season. Over 2.3 million unique users watched more than 108 million minutes of handball live and on demand.

Video content is also at the core of the competition’s offering on social media. Engagement rose by 74% and more than 400,000 fans are now following the EHF Champions League across social media, an increase of 50%.

VELUX EHF FINAL4

Sporting highlights included the final events, the VELUX EHF Champions League FINAL4, hosted in Cologne for the seventh time.

The 20,000 fans in the once again sold out LANXESS arena in Cologne witnessed a nail biting final, which produced a champion from Poland, KS Vive Tauron Kielce, for the first time after beating Hungarian side, Veszprem.

The event was broadcast live in more than 80 countries and seen by a cumulated TV audience of more than 53 million, an increase of 43 percent compared to 2015. Again, those numbers were new records for the EHFM and its long-term TV rights partner MP & Silva.

Fans all around the globe were able to see the VELUX EHF FINAL4 from new perspectives and different angles, thanks to newly implemented technologies such as 360° videos or referee cameras for the live TV feed. Even the referees were supported by a technical innovation, as for the first time in European Handball instant replay was available and used in Cologne.

Women’s EHF FINAL4

The Women’s EHF Champions League finished in style in Budapest – also with newly crowned champions – with Romanian side, CSM Bucaresti, taking the trophy for the first time, beating Audi ETO Györ after penalties in the final.

Thanks to fan interested and excellent organisation, the Women’s EHF FINAL 4 once again underlined its position as one of the best women’s sport events in Europe. Based on this success, the EHFM settled an agreement with the Hungarian Handball Federation for hosting the event in the upcoming three seasons, which will deliver more options for the further develop of the event.

In general, the Women’s EHF Champions League is on the right track in all departments, underlined by a ten per cent increase of fan attendance in the arenas compared to the previous season.