Infront, Perform tie up rights to European handball

The European Handball Federation has sealed a 10-year media and marketing agreement worth over €500m ($599m) with the Infront agency and digital sports content and media group Perform – a deal the organisation claims is a “watershed moment” for itself and the sport as a whole.

The exclusive partnership for the commercialisation of EHF’s and EHF Marketing’s media and marketing rights expands to include both international and club tournaments and runs from 2020 to 2030.

The contracts comprise national team competitions including the men’s and women’s EHF Euros, the EHF Euro Qualifiers, youth and beach events.

The deal was also signed by EHFM, the federation’s subsidiary and marketing arm for club competitions – together with Forum Club Handball, the organisation representing Europe’s top men’s clubs – to include the men’s and women’s Champions League, the men’s and women’s European Handball League and the men’s and women’s EHF Cup across the seasons spanning 2020-21 to 2029-30.

The EHF approved the start of final negotiations with Infront and Perform in January. The decision signalled the final stage in a tender process that was launched on September 18, 2017. Seven initial bids from agencies and media companies were received for the rights, with three “firm offers” having been considered back in January.

The EHF said last June that it would switch to a new method of marketing its rights for its showpiece competitions. Infront is currently responsible for the marketing of EHF Euro events, with the MP & Silva agency marketing Champions League rights.

Under the new agreement, Infront and Perform will place an emphasis on creating a larger and more consistently engaged audience across all competitions all year round to further strengthen the position of handball across Europe.

“This is a watershed moment for our sport and the EHF,” Michael Wiederer, EHF president, said. “The new partnership with Infront and Perform will shape the future of handball on a club and national team level, not only in financial terms but also with the huge potential it brings for future growth and development.

“Handball today is a very different sport, both on and off the court, and the dimensions of this agreement underline the fact that we have a top product with the ability to electrify people worldwide.”

Infront has worked with the EHF since the first European Championship in 1994. The agency’s president and chief executive, Philippe Blatter, said: “This new agreement is testament to the fact that when we enter partnerships with sports properties, we bring great experience and value.

“We have an opportunity to grow the popularity of European handball by expanding into a younger and more digitally focused fan base and by engaging the audience beyond the 60 minutes of the game.”

David Szlezak, managing director of EHF Marketing, added: “There is still a lot of potential in the marketing of our sport and it seems that the market has taken notice of this. As the sports market experiences digital disruption, we are facing an exciting period of transformation and by bundling all of European handball’s media and marketing rights together we believe that we have taken the right step at the right time.”