2006 Men's European Handball Championship sets TV record

Zug, Switzerland - The Handball Euro06 which took place in Switzerland was the most extensively covered and viewed tournament in the history of Men's European Handball Championships.

More than 760 million cumulative viewers followed 707 hours of televised event coverage. The event took place from 26 January to 5 February 2006 and is the European Handball Federation's (EHF) premier event.

The championship was transmitted by close to 120 television and radio broadcasters worldwide and benefited from approximately 800 accredited journalists, photographers and technicians to deliver record media coverage.

This result is based on an independent programme analysis including information provided by broadcast partners worldwide. The report was compiled by the German communication research agency Sport+Markt AG on behalf of Infront Sports & Media AG, the EHF's exclusive television and marketing partner.

The report is one of the most comprehensive to date and is seen as a conservative estimate for the event's total coverage. This is due to several key markets — such as Russia, Turkey, Argentina and Brazil — not being able to provide audited audience data to meet the full criteria of the study. If the unaudited data from these markets were taken into account, the total figure of 760 million would increase to an estimated 850 million cumulative audience.

Infront has increased the television coverage of the Men's European Handball Championships significantly over the history of this event. Both the 2002 event in Sweden and the 2004 competition in Slovenia broke all previous records in television broadcast terms. The most recent Euro06 comfortably exceeded this: The total transmission time grew by 20% and the cumulative audience figures increased by more than 30% (based on the audited cumulative audience) compared to the last Men's Championship in 2004.

The 2006 television report demonstrated that coverage reached virtually every European country. The victory of the French team over Spain in the final match benefited from significant news coverage around the world. Extensive television coverage was also reported from countries not represented in the competition, e.g. Romania (25 matches), Belgium (16), FYR Macedonia (15), and Sweden (10). Live broadcasts of Euro06 matches were also shown in the Middle East and North Africa. Delayed transmissions and/or news coverage was available in several Asian and South American territories.

The official tournament website, www.euro06.com, which was jointly provided by the EHF, the Swiss Handball Federation and Infront, provided fans with extensive information about the event, participating nations and players. It received 74.6 million page impressions from the beginning of January through 5 February. The result more than tripled those compared to the 2004 event website – another tournament record.

Tor Lian, President of the EHF, said, "We are proud of our deep-rooted partnership with Infront Sports & Media. It dates back many years and has played an absolute crucial role in the development of the EHF, especially in terms of the growth of its flagship event, the European Handball Championships. The innovative and close-knit partnership has made the European Handball Championships into a leading event on the sporting market, as the figures underline. The 2006 Men's European Championship, held in Switzerland in January, turned a corner and set a precedent for international, indoor sporting events. The EHF will continue its work with Infront for the next period to encompass the 2008 and 2010 European Championships to reach even greater heights."

Infront has acted as the EHF's exclusive commercial partner for almost thirteen years. In 2004, both partners renewed their cooperation until 2010.

The EHF and Infront are currently preparing to broadcast the Women's European Championship from 7 – 17 December 2006 in Sweden, where TV4 Sweden will be acting as host broadcaster and offering live signals from all 47 games.

The nations which have already qualified include Norway (as title holder), Denmark, Hungary, Russia, Germany and the host country Sweden. The other participating teams will be decided during the play-offs at the end of May.