Györi Audi ETO KC took the WOMEN’S EHF Champions League 2017/18 title after a tense 70-minute battle versus HC Vardar, taking a 27:26 victory thanks to a fast-break save from Györ goalkeeper Eva Kiss in the dying seconds of extra time.
By winning their fourth EHF Champions League title, Györ are the first side to defend a FINAL4 title.
CSM Bucuresti defeated Rostov-Don 31:30, to claim their second consecutive Champions League bronze as CSM left back Cristina Neagu finished top scorer for the season with 110 goals. Vardar goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud won the FINAL4 MVP award.
A capacity crowd of 12,000 spectators filled Budapest’s Papp László Sportaréna for the whole weekend with action from the Hungarian capital witnessed by a bigger TV audience than ever before.
For the first time since the introduction of the event in the 2013/14 season, 22 television stations broadcast the Women’s EHF FINAL4 to more than 55 territories.
Handball fans in countries without TV coverage were able to watch the stream of all four games free of charge both on ehfTV.com and on the Olympic Channel, after EHF Marketing closed a deal with the official Olympic platform to expand the event among the sport fans around the world.
The packed arena saw spectacular shows: a headline pre-final performance from John Newman, and of course, four spectacular matches — the Women’s EHF FINAL4 2018 was a stellar success that showed the event is going from strength to strength.
In the lead-up to the event, a bespoke and unique official event merchandise range, developed by Salming, was launched at the draw for the Women's EHF FINAL4.
The range consisted of t-shirts, hoodies and socks for men and women, all of which featured exclusive details such as the woven competition badge as well as logo and trophy prints with all items available online and at the EHF FINAL4 itself.
New companies also became part of the mega event, with a diverse line-up of businesses using the event as a platform to communicate with fans and promote their brand.
New partner HMD Global, the Home of Nokia Phones, received floor sticker exposure as well as LED board and arena cube advertisement in addition to banner advertising on the event website, www.ehfFINAL4.com, and European handball’s own OTT platform, www.ehfTV.com.
EHF Marketing also announced the addition of the Women’s EHF Champions League to its charity partnership with Plan International, which the Women's EHF Champions League had been supporting since the beginning of the 2017/18 season.
Through advertising at the EHF FINAL4, Plan International and the Women's EHF Champions League brought attention to Plan’s work, particularly in the sphere of gender equality for girls and women.
EHF President Michael Wiederer was more than satisfied with how the competition has developed.
“The FINAL4 tournaments are showcases, both on the men’s and women’s side,” said Wiederer.
“I see many people coming from all kinds of directions and I think it is motivating people, it’s motivating young players. I remember when we started the Men’s FINAL4 in Cologne there was a certain discussion among people, who said ‘Oh, but we like home matches.’
“Nowadays, if you ask a player in the Champions League, he or she always says: ‘I want to go to Cologne. I want to go to Budapest.’ So, this is a target, and therefore, it is an important highlight overall — not only for club handball.”