EHF Champions League

Handball meets business, while Seven-metre Bonanza wins Hackathon

Courtney Gahan / br

Handball meets business, while Seven-metre Bonanza wins Hackathon

Following the successful premiere of the European Handball goes Tech event in 2017, the European Handball Talks: Brand and Technology event was held on Friday in Cologne Botanical Gardens.

With close to 100 leaders in handball, marketing and technology in attendance, the event organised by the EHF, EHF Marketing and Sportradar saw attendees treated to a programme of speeches delivered by global experts in brand management, digital marketing and digital monetisation strategies.

In his opening address at the European Handball Talks, organised on the fringe of what is the ninth VELUX EHF FINAL4, EHF President Michael Wiederer highlighted the development of the event and the importance of the additional activities: “It’s not only an event for the handball family,” said Wiederer. “It is a meeting of handball and business.”

Brands create growth and prosperity

President of the European Brand Institute Gerhard Hrebicek opened the technical talks with his explanation of the importance of brand value in the eyes of the consumer.

“Sports is a very emotional system. If people have high emotions in sport, you create a huge loyalty, a huge fan base. In sports you can even talk about brand tradition,” said Hrebicek, outlining how many sports brands do not have to work very hard to appeal to consumers, as the natural attraction is there on the field of play or has already been established.

Hrebicek also explained how a brand operates within an ecosystem. In the case of the EHF, this ecosystem includes players, clubs, audience, competitions, leagues, sponsors and media, all of which are interconnected.

“Brands support each other to become stronger, and that is important in this handball ecosystem, and that is important for the EHF, because the topic is about how to grow handball.”

It is our task to awaken possibilities

Managing Director of EHF Marketing GmbH David Szlezak focused on the development of the VELUX EHF Champions League brand and its flagship event, the FINAL4.

“Brand and technology – those two key words are the most important terms for us when it comes to defining our next steps.”

Szlezak also outlined some major marketing challenges faced by handball – which were discussed further by the ‘Marketing in the digital age’ panel comprised of Senior Director of Global Marketing for VELUX Cristian Fjeldsoe, Marketing Manager of Milka Philipp Wallisch, BAM! Sponsoring Founder Johannes Hagedorn, and CEO of Kastner & Partners Thomas Grabner later in the afternoon.

“Media consumption has significantly changed. We have to see how to deliver the best value to handball fans – not only handball-interested people, but sport-interested people,” said Szlezak, introducing the topic of new content types and the importance of remaining competitive against the volume of entertaining content available today. “We are obviously in a competitive market – not only with other sports.”

Premiere of the European Handball Hackdays

The first European Handball Hackdays event was held on Friday in Cologne Botanical Gardens, alongside the European Handball Talks: Brand and Technology, attended by leaders in marketing, handball and technology. Hackdays saw specialists in marketing, data analytics and programming – who had never met before Thursday – come together with the task of creating an innovative application to engage handball fans.

The competition was won by IbizaTec, a team comprised of Angel Villar Corrales, Artur Niescieruk, Ferran Miro Gea and Lukasz Gontarek (from Spain and Poland), who created the Seven-metre Bonanza app within the eight-hour time limit. The app allows fans to guess where a player will shoot when taking a penalty, earning points based on how close their prediction is to the resulting shot. Within the app, fans can compete against others in the arena or watching the match at home.

The other two applications focused on data analysis. The first creates performance and efficiency ratings for each player based on data alone, allowing fans to see who is best on the court in terms of the numbers. The second provides a live data feed of efficiency and shot predictions directly to the app.

The competition entries were judged by representatives of Sportradar, Kinexon and the EHF.

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