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EHF kicks off Infront, DAZN pact with digital overhaul

Frankis Carol Marzo of Sporting CP in action against Andrei Savenco and Seyed Mousavi of Dinamo Bucharest during the 2020 EHF Men's Champions League Group Phase (by Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The European Handball Federation has unveiled major changes to its digital media provision to tie in with the official start of its 10-year exclusive media and marketing rights deal with the Infront agency and digital sports media company DAZN Group.

A new ‘360-degree’ digital ecosystem designed to amplify the reach and awareness of handball will launch across all platforms including television, OTT, digital and social media.

Online, a new content platform entitled ‘Home of Handball’ will seek to provide the best handball content from the continent. This will be complemented on social media with dedicated Home of Handball channels.

The EHF’s streaming platform, EHFTV, has been revamped with an enhanced video player and new features enabling fans to watch games, classic matches and highlights from all EHF competitions live and on demand.

Content for all platforms will be created by Infront and DAZN’s newly-assembled dedicated digital production experts based in Madrid working on what is eventually set to be more than 5,000 pieces of video content for all major EHF competitions.

Joint work has already started on a digital campaign to promote the start of the 2020-21 EHF Champions League, while a player and influencer programme will also form part of the new strategy for the EHF Euro national team tournament.

Signed in May 2018, the EHF’s wide-ranging agreement with DAZN and Infront kicks in with the 2020-21 editions of the Federation’s club competitions. The agreement, which also includes the men’s and women’s EHF Euros, from 2022 to 2030, is worth €500m ($560.2m) in rights fees alone, with an additional spend on production and services.

In order to ensure a fair rights sales process, Infront is expected to take the lead on media-rights sales in markets in which DAZN operates. DAZN’s relationship with the EHF is handled separately and distinctly from the company’s consumer-facing subscription streaming operation and is managed by the global rights partnerships team.

EHF president Michael Wiederer has said that the Federation intends to go back to market with the rights in 2027 and it is understood to have set the lofty ambition of generating €1bn from the next cycle, albeit that aim was stated before the Covid-19 crisis took hold.

Martin Hausleitner, secretary general of the EHF, said: “We are entering the partnership with Infront and DAZN with the clear aim to elevate the sport of handball to new heights. A central pillar to this is finding new ways to further improve our digital presence. We are entering a new era for the sport and our 360-degree strategy will ensure that all partners can value and truly connect with fans old and new.”

Commenting on the start of the Infront-DAZN deal, David Szlezak, managing director of EHF Marketing, said: “For the club competitions, in particular the EHF Champions League, it provides us with a great opportunity to create a holistic approach to promote and grow the sport of handball in an exciting way – not only digitally but also in terms of eventisation and brand identification.”