“A strategy with regional synergies”
UNIQA have been partner of the EHF Champions League competition and the EHF FINAL4 events for many years. Since the start of the 2020/21 season, the multinational, Austrian-based insurance company have also been partner of the newly implemented EHF European League Men and Women competitions. To be a supporter in their core markets in now four European handball competitions is a perfect fit for UNIQA, says Carl Gabriel, the Group Sponsoring Responsible of the company.
“Our long-term cooperation with the EHF is a cross-border showcase project with many synergy effects. It enables us to do exactly what we want and can bring us in as a regional premium sponsor,” says Gabriel.
In Austria, UNIQA are the number one insurance provider and it is in Austria that UNIQA make approximately 60 to 70 per cent of their sales.
“We are a top player all over central and eastern Europe, and handball is one of the top sports there,” says Gabriel. “For us, European handball is a highly attractive yet affordable sponsorship that fits our strategy exactly. For UNIQA, handball is a wonderful, international project that brings us closer to our customers in our markets through a great presence on TV, OTT platforms and social media.”
Handball is one of the most important sports in, for example, Hungary, Romania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia and Poland, and many of the most successful Champions League teams come from these core UNIQA countries.
‘A strategy with regional synergies’ is UNIQA’s motto for all sponsorships – this is why the company are supporting different sports all over Europe.
“All sponsorships differ in different countries, as we focus on and want to show presence at top performers in top sports, and even use them as brand ambassadors, from skiing in Austria to water polo in Serbia and Hungary to handball in all of these countries,” says Gabriel, who has been responsible for the partnership between the EHF, EHF Marketing and UNIQA since it started.
“Handball fits perfectly in all our core market regions. We have great TV exposure and great numbers in all media types, which shows that UNIQA and handball are perfect and successful partners.”
The EHF FINAL4 participants in recent years, mainly in the women’s competition, underline this regional success, with names such as Györ, Vardar, Buducnost and Bucharest; the men’s winners from Kielce and Vardar; and the multiple-time finalists from Veszprém.
On a mutual basis and with a joint approach, UNIQA and EHF Marketing have created a long-term and outstanding partnership.
Gabriel says: “The European Handball Federation is a small but excellent sports federation, which offers great opportunities for its partners by being highly innovative. For example, EHF Marketing was a pathfinder in terms of board advertisement from analogue to LED, they were one of the first with a focus on social media strategies or their OTT station, EHFTV.
“On a technical and mainly digital basis, the EHF and EHF Marketing have always been trailblazers in terms of development, always trying to engage the partners with tailor-made ideas and concepts.”
Furthermore, the constant development of the product is important for UNIQA, as Gabriel concludes.
He said: “The competitions are clearly structured, transparent and easy to understand. The top leagues are strong brands, and with the implementation of the European Leagues, many more top teams have the chance to develop, like, for example, clubs from Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia, which means a much wider range of regions for us as a supporter of the competitions.
“We can raise local awareness, as we, under normal circumstances, use our sponsorships for hospitality for customer relationship management.
“Sponsorship in European handball and EHF competitions is worth every euro – this is why we extended our long-term partnership until the end of the 2022/23 season for all four competitions.”