A sold-out arena, new records in terms of TV coverage and TV production, a ”sold-out” range of partners and high-class sport - the highest representatives of the EHF and EHF Marketing GmbH drew a highly positive conclusion in all departments when they announced facts and figures of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2017 in the closing press conference on the final day of the event.
For Michael Wiederer it was his eighth VELUX EHF FINAL4, but the first one in his new function as EHF President: “The FINAL 4 in Cologne has become a tradition and is the centre of the handball world for one weekend each year.
"Everybody can see the tremendous development over eight years and it is a credit to the work of EHF Marketing, the EHF and many suppliers, partners & sponsors that it is possible for the event to get better year on year”, said Wiederer, calling the VELUX EHF FINAL4 the “best indoor tournament in European sport”.
“The VELUX EHF FINAL4 is a meeting place for the who’s who of handball, a perfect platform to exchange ideas and information,” he added.
The EHF President gave a special thank-you to the title sponsor of the EHF Champions League and the FINAL4. “VELUX have been active in supporting the development of the event since 2010," he explained. "They are not only sponsoring our sport, but are using handball as a platform of promotion.”
This year the VELUX Group had more than 800 guests at the event, with Wiederer highlighting the final weekend of European club handball as being more than action on the court as the 'European Handball goes Tech' event on Friday brought together handball, tech and marketing experts for a fascinating discussion on the future of technology in the sport.
“200 people joined us for the connection of technology and marketing,” said Wiederer about the event at the prestigious KölnSKY which showed publicly, for the first, the new ‘iBall’ (ball with a tracking chip inside) from SELECT and KINEXON. Wiederer then confirmed that it will be used next season in selected VELUX EHF Champions League matches. “The ball will provide us with more data from the game," he enthused.
In addition, two side events focused on education. The EHF Club Manager Seminar was held under the title: “The Player in Focus” including presentations from professional players Carlos Prieto and Dominik Klein, plus the second edition of the European Handball Manager Certificate Studies, concluded on Friday – and Wiederer congratulated the new European Handball Managers, who received their certificates from honorary EHF President, Jean Brihault.
“Those programmes will bring more competent people in handball," he explained. "All, together, they will improve our sport."
From the sporting point of view, the EHF President praised the thrilling highly attractive semi-finals – and the composition of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in general. “More and more top-level teams can make it to Cologne and the final, this shows our sport is improving and this is an asset for handball.”
EHF Vice President Predrag Boskovic, chairman of the tournament management, also praised the high level. “This exciting tournament proved that handball is a diamond among us.” Boskovic thanked all the people who made the FINAl4 a magnificent event - the staff of EHF Marketing and the EHF, volunteers and also players and officials. “We are making history today, since we will have a new champion and this is great for the sport and the competition”, he concluded.
David Szlezak, Managing Director, EHF Marketing GmbH announced new heights and records in the media and marketing field with 40 TV stations covering the event, broadcasting in 80 territories. The VELUX EHF FINAL4 saw its most extensive TV production to date with 28 cameras, referee cameras and the first 360 degree TV production in handball for Facebook and YouTube of all four Opening Shows.
Szlezak also thanked the partners of the VELUX EHF Champions League - The VELUX Group, UNIQA, Salming, SELECT and Gerflor plus the partners for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 (Gorenje, Cashback World – operated by Lyoness, Admiral, Husqvarna, SAP, Engelbert Strauss) plus the Croatian Handball Federation, with its promotion of EHF EURO 2018.
Szlezak put a special focus on the new partnership with Sportradar, the new official data and streaming provider. “This partnership will enable us to get new income opportunity, delivering data to monetise thisinformation.”
During the conference, Slovenian company Gorenje was presented as new regional premium sponsor of the VELUX EHF Champion League, with the newly-signed contract valid until the 2019/20 season and will also be part of the upcoming EHF EURO events.
In terms of entertainment Szlezak was proud that the former Spice Girl Melanie C will provide three performances in Cologne, proving that "...handball is spreading to the outside world, with not only handball community is interested in the VELUX EHF FINAL4.”
For the eighth time, the VELUX EHF FINAL4 was sold-out, and the ticket sales for the 2018 edition had already started at the LANXESS arena.
“The long queues prove that the event is a successful one,” concluded Szlezak.
The official launch of ticket sales goes online on Monday, 5 June.Author: EHF / br
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