EHF looks to the future of its top competitions
With their sights set firmly on the future of Europe’s premier competitions, the EHF and EHF Marketing GmbH met with representatives of the German Handball Federation, DKB Handball Bundesliga and also the country’s top clubs at the REWE Final Four in Hamburg on Saturday, 8 April.
Following the election of a new president and executive committee as well as the appointment of a new secretary general, the EHF is currently in the process of examining how the sport and its competitions will look in the coming years.
Key to the discussions is the fact that many of the federation’s most important commercial contracts will expire in 2020. These include EHF Marketing GmbH’s contract with MP & Silva for the media rights for the EHF Champions League and the EHF’s contract with Infront Sports & Media for the EHF EURO events.
Topics on the agenda included the current competition system, media and marketing agreements with commercial partners and also the potential for a further expansion of the EHF’s top tier men's club competition in the future.
The meeting at the REWE Final Four is the second of its kind to have taken place. In November 2016, the EHF and EHF Marketing GmbH met with representatives of the French Handball Federation, Lidl Starligue and top French clubs.
Following the meeting, the EHF President, Michael Wiederer, said: “The agreement and cooperation with our main stakeholders – with federations, leagues and clubs - is crucial to this process and I am very pleased that we had this opportunity for a frank and open exchange of views and opinions with many of the key players in German handball.
“Our challenge is to ensure that we continue to offer top level competitions in the future that are attractive to fans, the media and sponsors, while also maximising income through the best use of the marketing and media rights.
“There is a clear agreement among all stakeholders not only of the huge potential of the VELUX EHF Champions League but also the need and desire to further grow and develop the competition. At the same time, we must also ensure that any development fits into a balanced competition system in Europe, takes into consideration the workload of players and also the activities of national teams.”
Uwe Schwenker, President of the DKB Handball-Bundesliga, said: "If we want to align the structure of the leading competitions, the whole of handball needs to work together. Meetings such as this in Hamburg are essential if we are to take this journey together and ultimately be successful.”
Andreas Michelmann, President of the German Handball Federation, said: “All those involved now know from one another what conditions, requirements and wishes they would like to see in the future development of European competitions. My hope now is that all those involved have the courage to make these changes, so that together we can make handball stronger.”
Representing the EHF were Michael Wiederer, EHF President and Markus Glaser, Chief Sports Officer. EHF Marketing was represented by David Szlezak, Managing Director.
The German Handball Federation (DHB) was represented by Andreas Michelmann, President; Bob Hanning, Vice President and Mark Schober, Secretary General.
Representing the DKB Handball Bundesliga were Uwe Schwenker, President and Frank Bohmann, Managing Director.
Germany’s top clubs were represented by Dierk Schmäschke, Managing Director of SG Flensburg-Handewitt; Reinhard Ziegenbein, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, THW Kiel; Thorsten Storm, Managing Director THW Kiel; Jennifer Kettemann, Managing Director of Rhein-Neckar Löwen as well as Sebastian Grüne, Marketing Manager of Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
Photo: (from left): Jennifer Kettemann, Andreas Michelmann, David Szlezak, Frank Bohmann, Markus Glaser, Sebastian Grüne, Michael Wiederer, Reinhard Ziegenbein, Frank Bohmann, Thorsten Storm, Dierk Schmäschke, Bob Hanning and Mark Schober (Credit: Sörli Binder/DHB)