Another record-breaking year for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship


World’s biggest annual winter sport event achieves unprecedented levels of television coverage and viewership, while daily spectator attendance peaks at a record 82,897 fans

Zug, Switzerland – The 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, held between 5 and 21 May 2017 in Cologne and Paris, secured more television coverage and a bigger TV audience than ever before. The competition generated a record of more than 8,300 hours of TV coverage, which is almost double that of just five years ago.

Infront Sports & Media, a Wanda Sports company, and the exclusive media and marketing partner of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, revealed a total TV audience of 1.297 billion for this year’s edition. This tops the 2016 record by 36 million and is an approximately 30 per cent increase on five years prior.

Overall, the event aired in 166 territories across the globe, with Germany’s television channel SPORT1 attracting a peak audience of 2.4 million to watch their team win the decisive game against Latvia to reach the quarter-finals. This was the highest-ever number for an ice hockey game broadcast by SPORT1.

Enormous popularity with spectators as well

The competition also attracted huge numbers of on-site spectators to the arenas hosting the 64 games. The six games held on 13 May 2017 set an impressive record for day attendance, with a total of 82,897 attending the games onsite. The LANXESS arena in Cologne sold out an unparalleled three times that day, hosting a total of 54,699 spectators. At the same time, the three games played that day in Paris’ AccorHotels Arena drew 28,198 fans.

Over the entire course of the competition, more than 686,000 spectators attended the games. That constitutes the second-best result in the competition’s history, surpassed only by the 2015 tournament held in the Czech Republic. Of the 10 highest on-site audiences for the tournament, seven have been recorded in the past 10 years. Finally, the AccorHotels Arena in Paris attracted the highest ever spectator figures measured in a second arena of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

IIHF President René Fasel commented: “The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship continues to go from strength to strength. Each year we seem to top the performance of the last. That is testimony to the fast, thrilling nature of this sport and competition, as well as to the successful efforts to bring the event to new audiences.”

President of the 2017 Organising Committee, Franz Reindl, added: “France and Germany were delighted to come together to host the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The unprecedented success of the event we jointly held is a source of huge pride.”

Digital activation and strategy continues to soar

Using the IIHF official website as a hub for its digital campaigns, Infront and the IIHF introduced a number of innovations to allow viewers more control of footage and increased engagement. The results were impressive: video views across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook exceeded 29 million while the IIHF social media engagement topped at 4.1 million people.

To better understand the entire scope of the digital offering for the tournament, please have a look at the case study “IIHF Digital Convergence” here.

Sponsors firmly on board for future events

The tournament’s popularity also remains unparalleled with its partners. All major sponsors of the competition have extended their partnership with the event, including ŠKODA, who extended their partnership by another four years from 2018 until 2021. In 2007, ŠKODA was first recognised as the longest main sponsor of a world championship. This year, the Guinness World Record was renewed for the 25-year commitment with Infront and the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

Bruno Marty, Executive Director Winter Sports at Infront, said: “2017 will go down as yet another record-breaking year for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. That our sponsors remain just as passionate for future editions shows just what a valuable and important competition this has become.”

Next year’s event will take place in Denmark – the first time the Scandinavian country will host the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship – with a great fan interest to be expected. Already more than 80,000 tickets have been sold, which is more than were sold by this time last year.

Moving forward, the 2019 competition will take place in Slovakia and in 2020 Switzerland will host. The decision of the IIHF Congress at this year’s competition in Cologne means that the 2021 tournament will for the first time be jointly hosted by Minsk, Belarus and Riga, Latvia. In 2022, Finland will become home to this prestigious event, where world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind has designed a brand new arena to be constructed in Tampere especially for this competition.

About Infront Sports & Media

Infront Sports & Media, a Wanda Sports company, is one of the most respected sports marketing companies in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production, event operation and digital solutions – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football, summer and endurance sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with 170 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 900 experienced staff working from over 35 offices across more than 15 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of top class sport around the world every year. In November 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Group, part of the Chinese conglomerate the Dalian Wanda Group.

About Wanda Sports

Wanda Sports is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Led by President & Vice Chairman Philippe Blatter, Wanda Sports incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.