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THE PLAYER’S VIEW

Paris Saint-Germain Handball left

wing Uwe Gensheimer talks about

the VELUX EHF Champions League,

the competition’s development from

a player’s viewpoint, ways to increase

the league’s visibility and the growing

importance of marketing. page 3

THE DIRECTOR’S VIEW

What does the future hold for handball?

EHFM Managing Director David

Szlezak gives his insight on the sport’s

next steps and how he aims to make

his company and the VELUX EHF

Champions League fit for future challenges.

page 4

THE SPONSORS’ VIEW

The VELUX EHF Champions League,

together with the VELUX EHF FINAL4

as its undisputed highlight, have developed

into a benchmark competition

not only for the sport of handball

but for sponsors’ engagement and

new opportunities. page 6

1

LIVING THE PASSION

FOR HANDBALL

EDITORIAL

Come with us as EHF Marketing

takes you on a journey looking

at what has made - and still

makes - this sport great, and

shares ideas about how we can

work together to make it even

greater.

European handball is like a

human body with countless

organs scattered around

the continent, working day

in and day out for the love

of the sport. These organs

are the federations, the clubs, the players,

the sponsors and are connected

– like arteries and veins connecting

a body’s organs – in a continuous exchange

with a passion for handball,

the desire to develop the sport being

its elixir of life, the blood. These organs

have grown at different speeds through

their own natural development and the

body of European handball depends on

all of them.

Enter Hoffingergasse 18, in the 12th

district of Austria’s capital Vienna, go

up two flights of stairs and you find

yourself inside one of these organs -

the home of EHF Marketing, the daughter

company of the European Handball

Federation. It is a pulsating and vibrating

place not only because of its employees,

but also because chapters of

European handball future are shaped

there.

Founded in 2005, EHF Marketing works

closely with marketing and media partners

alongside Europe’s leading clubs

to realise the full potential of the sport

in the global sports market. EHF Marketing

is responsible for the marketing

and media rights of club competitions

including the VELUX EHF Champions

League, WOMEN’S EHF Champions

League and the Men’s EHF Cup.

Over the following pages, we offer you

an exclusive insight into the company’s

daily work, sharing with you the

key values that drive our competitions

and our business (page 2). We talked

to Paris Saint-Germain Handball’s left

wing Uwe Gensheimer about his views

on the VELUX EHF Champions League

and the growing importance of marketing

(page 3). EHF Marketing Managing

Director David Szlezak gives an insight

into what he thinks it takes to further

develop handball (page 4). One of the

newest projects, the development of a

digital ‘Home of Handball’, is presented

together with some of our partners’

digital innovations (page 5). EHF Marketing’s

relations to its sponsors are

in focus (page 6) and we close with an

overview of some of the VELUX and

WOMEN'S EHF Champions League’s key

figures (page 7).

We hope you enjoy this journey into

one of the organs of the body that is

called European handball. We are always

open for feedback and EHF Marketing

is looking forward to hearing

from or even working with you in the

future.


2

AN IDENTITY

FOR THE COMPETITION...

How the values of handball were

vital for designing a new key

visual for the VELUX EHF FINAL4

and also drive the daily work of

EHF Marketing.

There is a saying, attributed to

the Chinese philosopher Confucius,

that stagnation means

regression. It was an almost

similar feeling that had overcome EHF

Marketing in the middle of 2016 when

they looked at the corporate identity

and the way it was used in the VELUX

EHF Champions League.

“Over the past few years, everyone had

been so keen on further developing the

sport and our product, that we put little

pieces here and added something

there. We realised that the way we implemented

the Champions League’s CI

was a bit overloaded,” says EHF Marketing

Managing Director David Szlezak.

“So we decided to go back to the basics.

We looked at what handball, and

in particular, the VELUX EHF FINAL4,

stand for and based our communication

around these values.”

Designing a key visual

Key words were sought that would

bring the spotlight back onto the

sport: passion, power, energy, speed,

victory and defeat – the pure game.

One of the next steps was then to

come up with a visual presentation, a

new key visual.

Wiederer. “The proximity of the sport’s

stars - who are as close to the fans as

nowhere else - attracts the supporters

and it’s around these elements that the

new design of the VELUX EHF FINAL4

was created.”

The new key visual enjoys an almost

omnipresence at the VELUX EHF FINAL4

2017, from around the LANXESS arena

to the front page of this newspaper all

the way through to the beer mats in Cologne’s

pubs.

“We also want to address those who

may not have come across handball or

have experience of it,” said Katharina

Hacker, EHF Marketing Brand Manager.

“We want to draw their attention to

this event and this great sport.”

For this, the presence at one event over

a few days is not enough alone, so in

the future the VELUX EHF FINAL4 design

will be used throughout the season.

“From the start of the season it

should be clear that we have embarked

on the ‘Road to Cologne’,” said Szlezak

about a future season-long campaign.

...A MISSION FOR

EHF MARKETING

From original image to key visual

“In the past, opening shows and entertainment

had become a central element

of the VELUX EHF FINAL4’s presentation

to the public,” explained Lisa

Wiederer, VELUX EHF FINAL4 Manager.

“With this part, we had reached a very

high level, but the event’s core is sport

and that is what matters most."

“The fantastic emotions and sport offered

on court are the main reasons

why fans come to Cologne,” continued

Pushing the limits every day

However, it is not only the key visual

itself that serves as a representation

of the competition’s key values.

For EHF Marketing, the key values are

also the framework that defines their

daily work as a team – a team which

has grown from two employees at

its foundation in 2005, to 18 in 2017,

consisting of 10 women and eight men

from seven different nations with an

average age of 34.

With several former handball players

in that team, the passion for the sport

within EHF Marketing is not in question

and those key values are lived out daily.

Power and energy are the willingness

to go the extra step every day,

for every customer. Success is always

appreciated, but even if things do

not go to plan, no-one gives up and

team spirit prevails.

Imprint

Editor: Thomas Schöneich

Design&Layout: Marta Idzikowska

Contributor: Björn Pazen

Images: EHF/EHFM Photo Team

Publication: June 2017 – EHF Marketing GmbH


3

“ THE KIDS CAN BE CLOSE TO

THEIR IDOLS. THAT'S HAND-

BALL’S BIGGEST PLUS”

What would one of the world’s best left wings do to increase the visibility of the

VELUX EHF Champions League? Instead of matches, wins and losses, we talked

marketing and business with Paris Saint-Germain Handball’s Uwe Gensheimer.

INTERVIEW

Uwe Gensheimer

is not only

one of the world’s

30-year-old

best left wings, he is

also a successful businessman. Five

years ago, he founded a start-up together

with his handball teammates

Andy Schmid and Marko Vukelic.

The fashion label UANDWOO, which

the three launched, first produced

socks, their trademark being a small

red button attached. These days, they

have enlarged the product range to include

underwear, t-shirts and jumpers.

And despite the fact that Gensheimer

moved to Paris in 2016 to play for PSG

Handball and that the sport is clearly

his life’s focal point, his business continues

to grow.

However, it’s not all positive. I see

the Champions League as too ‘bloated’

and there is a two-tier differentiation

which I regard as critical. I know the

reasons why it has been done, but

I find it questionable to divide the

biggest event in European club

handball.

And it shouldn’t be the case that

some teams exit the Champions

League season with a financial

deficit. The competition’s profit

has to be used as efficiently as

possible; contracts which have

been signed years ago will improve

– so I’m sure that this situation

will change.

For a player, what kind of status does

the VELUX EHF FINAL4 have?

“Over recent years,

the EHF Champions

League has made

huge progress

in terms of

professionalisation.“

Gensheimer also early on identified

the importance of social media for a

player’s self-marketing, turning him

into an ideal person to talk about the

development of the VELUX EHF Champions

League and the importance of

professional marketing for competition

and players alike.

You are playing your eighth season

in the Men’s EHF Champions League.

From a player’s point

of view, how do you

judge the competition’s

development?

Uwe Gensheimer: Over

recent years, the EHF

Champions League has

made huge progress in

terms of professionalisation.

Step-by-step

the product has been

improved – not to mention

the uniform floor

and match ball also. If

you look at the media

coverage, whether that’s on TV, as a

live stream on ehfTV.com or part of

the EHF Champions League’s social

media activities, that’s all done to a

very high level.

Gensheimer: The FINAL4 is the season’s

undisputed highlight for every

player and for every fan. It’s the one

weekend of the year on which the

world’s four best handball teams face

each other. That’s on court, and off

court there is fantastic atmosphere

and a great party. It’s impossible to

name a favourite for this weekend because

it’s the teams’ form on the actual

day that decides the winner.

You have completed a university

degree in business economics and

gained marketing experience with

your own company. Judging from that

background, what would you do to

increase the visibility

of the VELUX EHF

Champions League?

Gensheimer: I think the competition’s

visibility is very good and the EHF

Champions League has developed a

consistent look and feel that every

handball fan immediately recognises.

One should try now to turn those

who generally love sports into true

handball lovers. In which other sport

can spectators watch their idols giving

interviews in front of the arena two

days ahead of the Champions League

Final? The kids can be close to their

idols. That’s handball’s biggest plus.

You run your own website, you

are very active on social media. Is

self-marketing becoming more important?

Gensheimer: Yes, definitely. On the

one hand because of the reasons I

just mentioned, on the other hand it

is something personal. Every athlete

has to decide how much of his private

life he wants to share. But there is no

question that digital reach increases

the interest for an athlete’s potential

private sponsors.


4

“ HANDBALL IS ON THE

VERGE OF ITS NEXT

QUANTUM LEAP”

There is no crystal ball in David Szlezak’s office but the Managing Director of

EHF Marketing did attempt to predict what the future holds for the sport of

handball.

INTERVIEW

The look ahead starts by looking

back. The introduction in 2006

of the uniform set-up in the

then, Men’s EHF Champions

League, was followed in 2010 by the

acquisition of VELUX as title sponsor

and in 2013 by a TV deal with the international

rights company, MP & Silva.

All three of these developments have

been important steps in the positioning

of the VELUX EHF Champions League as

a premium indoor sport competition

with global

recognition.

However,

according to

David Szlezak,

Managing Director

of EHF

Marketing,

"People

will always

want to

feel the

athletes’

sweat."

this is not the time to rest. “Handball is

on the verge of its next quantum leap,”

he says. “We are on the cusp of the fully-digital

era in sports in which technology

will play the dominant role.”

The key factor in Szlezak’s plans to make

the VELUX EHF Champions League fit

for the future is data and EHF Marketing

recently announced a long-term

partnership with Sportradar, the global

leader in data and digital content.

Among other services, Sportradar will

provide live data and comprehensive

statistics for over 650 European Cup

matches in the 2017/8 season (see second

article on this page).

“When it comes to technology in

sport you can look at it from a competition’s

point of view,” continued

Szlezak. “Then you look at

developments such as instant

replay and goal-line

cameras. From a marketing

perspective, it’s about

the product itself and

its placement - then

it’s eventually about

the monetisation of

data.

“With the digital and

technological possibilities

that exist,

it will be possible to generate much

more value from the EHF Champions

League product and these values can

be monetised. This is where the VELUX

EHF Champions League has to position

itself clearly,” he continued.

“This is nothing less than opening another

source of income. In handball,

we count on money coming from the

sponsors, from the TV rights and event

rights which we sell and now we’ll be

looking at digital rights,” he concluded.

The development of the European

Handball Federation’s new online presence,

the ‘Home of Handball’ (see article

on page 5), the continuous innovation

of the EHF’s OTT platform, ehfTV.

com, as well investments in scouting,

like the new partnership with Sportradar,

are crucial steps to take, according

to Szlezak.

“No one knows exactly what will happen

in 10 years,” said Szlezak, the former

Rhein-Neckar Löwen right wing.

“However, we have to try to understand

as much as possible and implement as

much as possible and that’s the most

exciting part of it.

“We have to position ourselves by

showing the market that we are willing

to accept, and able to manage, future

challenges - we must not say that

everything we did in the past 10 years

should remain as it is.”

Despite all these plans and thoughts,

Szlezak is conscious to leave one thing

intact. “We must not lose our core,”

he explains. “Everyone wants to experience

highlights like the VELUX EHF

FINAL4 weekends and people will always

want to feel the athletes’ sweat

and want to experience the pure energy

that is released when these extraordinary

athletes meet on court.”

NEW DATA

PARTNERSHIP

PARTNERS

Starting with the 2017/18

season, EHF Marketing enters

a new partnership with

Sportradar, which will see

the global leader in data and digital

content provide a range of data,

streaming, marketing and digital

services for the federation’s European

Cup competitions. Sportradar

will become the ‘official streaming

and data partner of the EHF club

competitions’.

“This will be a truly collaborative

approach that will ensure that our

offering across the EHF's club competitions

chimes perfectly with the

evolving needs and wants of their

fans, sponsors and stakeholders,”

said Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl.

The agreement includes the collection

of live data and comprehensive

statistics for over 650 European Cup

matches per season across all of the

EHF’s top club competitions including

the VELUX and the WOMEN’S

EHF Champions League, EHF Cup

and Challenge Cup. It marks the first

time that clubs, media and fans will

be provided with such an extensive

set of statistics from every single European

club match throughout the

season – recognition of the huge

importance of providing high quality,

accurate data from the EHF’s club

competitions.

As part of the deal, Sportradar will

also work closely with the EHF and

EHF Marketing media teams on the

creation and further development

of digital content both for ehfTV.

com and social media channels.


5

HOME OF HANDBALL

T here is a new look for t he offic ial website of t he VELUX EHF FINAL 4 and T IPPMIX

EHF FINAL4. The redesigned ehfFINAL4.com website is the first element of a roll-out that

will see a transformation of the EHF's online presence.

INNOVATION

Easy intuitive navigation

Focus on match

information

Modern look and feel

in EHF brand design

One platform with all

competitions and activities

in colour coded channels

Responsive design

available on all devices

ABOUT

THE PROJECT

Over the past few years the

EHF has invested heavily in

the development of its digital

channels and the production

of extensive content especially

for social media.

The next stage in this strategy

is the roll-out of the 'Home of

Handball' concept, a digital

platform, where visitors will

be able to find all of the information,

news and statistics at

a click of a button or swipe of

their touchscreen from across

European handball.

With a new intuitive interface

and mobile-ready, responsive

design, a new channel structure

and colour coding system

will allow for easy navigation

and will enable users to discover

relevant content easily

as well as share on their own

profiles.

Additional cross-channel pages

will offer fans a huge amount

of extra information including

news, statistics and a dedicated

match centre with live content

that can be accessed via

second screens.

SELECT & KINEXON:

FOR THE FUTURE OF

HANDBALL

PARTNERS

What happens if one of the leading

manufacturers for handballs and a

company specialising in the development

of precision localisation and motion

sensing solutions join forces?

The first company is SELECT from Denmark, the official

ball supplier of the EHF. The second is KINEXON

from Germany who have been working with the EHF

to test their products. Together, SELECT and KINEX-

ON are now taking the next step, implementing a

KINEXON chip into a SELECT ball.

The chip is placed inside the bladder to keep it safe

from shots and bumps, while in play. The ball is light

and lively, but above all its constant balance ensures

there are no random bounces.

“By partnering with SELECT, we can provide a handball

fulfilling the highest level of quality. In combination

with our innovative sensor technology, we are

capable of automatically detecting passes, shots and

measure speed or spin of the ball,” says KINEXON

Sports & Media CEO Maximilian Schmidt.

“EHF and KINEXON are important strategic partners

and together we will continue to further develop

European handball. The chip ball will help to improve

the framework for events and increasing the

visibility of modern top handball’, says SELECT CEO,

Peter Knap.


SUCCESS ON AND

OFF THE COURT

The VELUX EHF Champions League, together with the VELUX EHF FINAL4, have

developed into a benchmark competition not only for the sport of handball but

for sponsors’ engagement and new opportunities.

Insurance company UNIQA has been

a long-term premium sponsor of the

VELUX EHF Champions League too,

while Danish company SELECT became

a partner at the beginning of the season

as official ball supplier. Swedish sports

clothing company Salming also joined

as a partner - and official sports outfitter

for the league. From the 2017/18

season, for three seasons, the internationally-renowned

manufacturer of

household appliances, Gorenje, will be

a new regional premium sponsor.

PARTNERS

When the VELUX Group

became the Men’s EHF

Champions League’s

title sponsor in September

2010, there was excitement

all around, not least from the sponsor

themselves.

“The renamed VELUX EHF Champions

League offers the VELUX Group a tremendous

opportunity to gain extensive

media exposure for our company,” said

Michael K. Rasmussen at the time, now

the VELUX Group’s Director of Branding

and Marketing. “This will also enable us

to entertain our key partners, dealers,

installers and customers at top-class

handball matches across Europe and

we are looking forward to an exciting

time.”

A long-term partnership

The initial partnership deal was for

three years – 2010-13 – but soon

a two-year extension was signed and

then, in 2015, the VELUX Group extended

its title sponsorship of the

VELUX EHF Champions League all the

way through to 2020.

“We have enjoyed a very close and

successful cooperation with the VELUX

Group over the past five years which

has helped us take handball and the

VELUX EHF Champions League to the

next level in terms of both fan and media

interest,” said then EHF President

Jean Brihault on the occasion of the

2020 extension.

“We have been very satisfied with the

title sponsorship of the EHF Champions

League, which has proven to be a

valuable collaboration for the VELUX

Group,” added Michael K. Rasmussen.

“The VELUX EHF Champions League

is an extremely powerful platform to

create and strengthen our relationship

with customers and partners primarily

in our key markets across Europe and

share the passion and professionalism

that best describes the VELUX Group,”

he concluded.

Brand recognition

While the VELUX EHF Champions

League soared to new heights in

terms of exposure and TV coverage, the

VELUX Group enjoyed unprecedented

brand recognition.

In 2010, a cumulative audience of 28.5

million people in 21 countries watched

the VELUX EHF FINAL4 but by 2016, the

number of viewers had almost doubled

to 53 million and the number of countries

reached quadrupled to more than

80.

TV coverage of the VELUX EHF Champions

League 2015/16 reached 383

million people with a cumulative total

of almost 16,000

hours broadcast.

Since 2010, the

media value of

the VELUX Group

sponsorship has

more than doubled

and the

visibility of the

VELUX logo increased from 3,027 to

17,496 hours on screen. The success of

the VELUX EHF Champions League on

the court, and the sponsoring success

of the VELUX Group off the court, have

developed along parallel lines – a winning

partnership.

Close relations,

key advantages

owever, it is not only at the very

top, in the spheres of naming

rights, where the VELUX EHF

Champions League has grown into a

premium platform for sponsors.

"All our partners

enjoy a very high degree

of personal contact and

support, and we can see

that they appreciate it."

It is the close relation to all of its sponsors

and partners that EHF Marketing

underlines as one of its main advantages

compared to bigger agencies. “All

our partners enjoy a very high degree

of personal contact and support, and

we can see that they appreciate it,”

said David Szlezak, Managing Director

of EHF Marketing. “For example,

our premium sponsor UNIQA focuses

on markets in eastern Europe, and

we know exactly

what their needs

a daily exchange.”

are in Hungary or

FYR Macedonia

and we develop a

bespoke communication

strategy

around the games

there – it is almost

SELECT and Salming also enjoy the

close contact to EHF Marketing, who

are based in Vienna, Austria at the

EHF headquarters. Already, in its first

season, SELECT has made use of its

partnership for several promotion activities

in the European handball family.

Salming and EHF Marketing have

also together developed the merchandise

collection for the TIPPMIX EHF

FINAL 2017, the final weekend of the

WOMEN’S EHF Champions League, as

well as those for the VELUX EHF FINAL4.


7

EHF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

IN NUMBERS

FACTS & FIGURES

Key markets

France, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Poland

in terms of…

…live audience

…competition performance

…TV audience

…sports interest

…social media stats

Key markets

FYR Macedonia, Hungary, Romania, France, Denmark, Norway

in terms of…

…live audience

…competition performance

…TV audience

…sports interest

…social media stats

28 teams from 19 countries

200 matches per season

over 12,000 minutes of exciting match action

16 teams from 11 countries

100 matches per season

over 6,000 minutes of exciting match actions

850,000 spectators

live in arenas all over Europe

250,000 spectators

live in arenas all over Europe

383 million people

watching the matches on TV

16,000 hours

broadcast on TV

Digital media key figures

Homepage visit / month 500,000

ehfTV.com live sessions / year 2,600,000

Total social media impressions 322,000,000

Fan increase

since previous season

184 million people

watching the matches on TV

4,500 hours

broadcast on TV

41%

19,750 spectators at every match of the

VELUX EHF FINAL4 weekend

2,500 VIP guests are using

the extraordinary hospitality

25%

64%

44%

Total social media fans

480,000

12,000 spectators at every

WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 match

53 million people

watching the matches

on TV worldwide

125%

correct as of 24 May 2017

24 million people

watching the matches

on TV worldwide

40 TV stations broadcast

the matches in more than 80 territories

21 TV stations broadcast

the matches in more than 55 territories

10 TV stations

commenting the matches on-site

28 cameras

and a crew of 100 people

produce the TV world feed

i

Interested in finding out more

about the work of EHF Marketing GmbH?

For more information contact our team:

EHF Marketing GmbH

handball@ehfmarketing.com

+43 1 80151-0

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