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17.06.2018, 11:20
A handball festival to captivate a new audience - and everyone's invited
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EHF CONGRESS 2018: Hungary and Slovakia are bidding jointly for the Men’s EHF EURO in either 2022 or 2024 and are promising high returns with a compact tournament in two neighbouring countries reaching out to a new audience
 

A handball festival to captivate a new audience - and everyone's invited

Hungary and Slovakia have experience of hosting numerous handball events, including IHF Youth and Junior World Championships and Hungary already has experience of co-hosting an EHF EURO – sharing the role with Croatia for the Women’s EHF EURO in 2014, but neither has yet hosted a senior Men’s EHF EURO or IHF World Championship.



They present their bid as a “truly central European EURO” which they estimate can be easily accessed by over 152 million people in less than 120 minutes via air, train, car or, via the romantic route – by boat on the River Danube.

Tourism in the region is growing through low-fare airlines and a multitude of accommodation facilities, ranging from shared economy accommodations and budget youth hostels through to five-star hotels, make it easy for fans to access the two countries.

Teams and officials will have no need for flying between venues with everywhere accessible in under “two hours” and the average travel time to the arena and training venue from team accommodation “only 12 minutes”.

Fans who attend the championship will strongly feel the themes of ‘youth’ and ‘festival’ with a ticketing system not just limited to the matches being played, but to public transportation, and entry to concerts, famous spas and fan zones from the “morning until night” in regionally-flavoured events.

The theme of ‘festival’ was inspired by a determination to engage brand new audiences into the sport by capitalising on the “attention, mobility, enthusiasm and presence of those festival-loving young Europeans who swarm the region” for different events each year. Placing themselves in the position of those festival-goers Hungary and Slovakia realised these existing and new fans to the sport may “not come for matches only, but join the hype and the celebration around them.”



Their theory is simple: handball matches attract existing audiences to the festival, while the festival attracts new audiences to handball matches – a mutually-beneficial relationship.

Both capital cities will be used in 2022 or 2024: the 14,000-capacity Papp László Sportaréna in Budapest (HUN) – which has hosted the Women’s EHF FINAL4 since 2013 - and 12,500-capacity Ondrej Nepela Aréna in Bratislava (SVK).

In addition, the 8,350-capacity Steel Aréna in Košice (SVK) will be used along with three more venues in Hungary – the 6,500-capacity Főnix Hall in Debrecen, the upgraded 8,143-capacity Pick Aréna in Szeged and the upgraded 8,469-capacity Veszprém Arena.

Hungary-Slovakia bid ambassadors include the handball icon László Nagy (HUN) and Slovakian handball legend Richard Štochl.

As the bid book says: “An EHF EURO so captivating that you do not just want to watch it on TV – it is a festival of handball you want to attend to feel the groove and share the live experience.”

Bid Links:

EHF EURO Beyond 2020 website
Beyond 2020 official bid presentation
Official bid website
 


TEXT: Andrew McSteen//jjr
 
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