Engaging and entertaining fans
Top-class handball has long been about more than simply two teams competing over 60 minutes.
The handball match has become an event and the sport a form of entertainment, competing to attract fans not just from other sports but also many other leisure activities – and it is a competitive market.
Fans want an experience well beyond the handball court and their expectations have been raised by spectacular events such as the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne, where the sporting action is mixed with spectacular show elements.
Partners and sponsors too want more than simple brand exposure through television or in the arena through floor or LED advertising systems. They want to create a dialogue with fans and to engage with them whether this be on site or through social and digital campaigns.
At major EHF events, the ‘Fan Zone’ has now become a key feature of the overall event entertainment concept and provides an opportunity for partners and sponsors to engage in a fun way with handball fans.
In Sweden, at the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 the fan zone formed an integral part of the overall fan experience.
The ‘Friends Zone’ was located in the same building as the Scandinavium Arena, in Gothenburg and the thousands of fans watching the final matches had to enter through the exhibition hall as they headed for their seats in the arena.
The event’s official partners and sponsors and partners including Grundfos, Bauhaus, Salming and official merchandiser, Intersport, all has stands and fun activities for fans to take part in.
It goes without saying that handball was also at the centre of the concept with a full handball court offering local children their own chance to be part of the event with where near non-stop stream of handball matches taking place.
Players from the four finalists and the media were also in the fan zone on the final weekend – using the court for interviews during the pre-final Media Day.
Successful concept developed at EHF EURO 2014
In Denmark in 2014 at the Men’s EHF EURO the first ‘Fan Zones’ were created at an EURO event, offering fans the opportunity to watch the action on big screens, enjoy food and drink, purchase event merchandising as well as try out a range of activities offered by partners and sponsors.
The Danish initiative was successful in attracting in attracting 68,000 visitors to the ‘Totalkredit Fan Zone’ in Herning, venue for the preliminary, main rounds as well as the final weekend.
In January 2016, Poland’s host cities offered fans a very warm welcome – despite the cold. Every city organised a centrally-located fan zone with public viewing in a central location.