European Handball Goes Tech
Goal-line cameras, instant replay video technology and goal-light system are already part of EHF events and there is no better place to showcase what’s next in handball than EHF Velux Final4. Thus, European Handball Federation in partnership with Sportradar gathered 150 experts in the fields of technology, marketing and sports from all over the world at the “European Handball goes Tech” event in Cologne to discuss and share their views on how new tech will transform the modern handball.
These are the biggest takeaways from the event…
Data, data, data, and more data
Keynote presentation, “Future of Sports Data”, was delivered by Mr Carsten Koerl, CEO of Sportradar, new streaming and data partner of EHF club competitions: “Average person in the USA spends around 3,5 hours time daily online or on a mobile phone”, meaning there is a huge opportunity for sport professionals to seize this opportunity to increase visibility and raise interest, to grow their businesses.
EHF used the opportunity to unveil their long-term agreement with Sportradar, one of global leaders in providing wide range of data, streaming, marketing and digital services, and, now officially, a new streaming and data partner of EHF club competitions. For the first time in history, EHF will be able to provide clubs and federations with big amount of data and comprehensive statistics delivered from over 650 matches, including EHF Champions League. “We have recognized the importance of providing quality, accurate data to fans, sponsors and stakeholders. Sportadar will now also work closely with out marketing and media teams on the creation of content for EHF TV and social media channels”, said David Szlezak, Managing Director of EHF Marketing GmbH.
Having loads of data is not enough
Storytelling was in focus during next panel discussion named “What’s Next in Handball?”, where Mr Koerl was joined by sports strategist Geoff Wilson, Maximilian Schmidt, Co-Founder and Managing Director of KINEXON Sports & Media and Henry M. Blunck, Head of Business Development at EHF Marketing.
Sports, including handball, are still to realize the potential technology brings to the table and it can be used efficiently 7 days a week, and not only during matchdays. The US is often being used as an example: “We need to experiment more. Some sports leagues such as the NBA and the NFL are experimenting with VR and AR for a long time now, we are following what’s happening in other sports in order to provide our fans, both in arena and to those in their living rooms, the best experience possible”, Mr Blunck concluded.
Panelists jointly concluded that having tons of data is not enough.“Technology is giving us more valuable data than ever before. While it is already being used to help coaches and players, it is up to us to create data-driven storytelling. We need to find ways and opportunities how to use data to create and tell more stories, to give more unique insights to fans, rather than just giving information about who scored the most goals” – Mr Koerl said.
What you can’t measure, you can’t manage
Mr Franjo Bobinac, President and CEO of Gorenje, Mr Michael K. Rasmussen, Senior Vice President of VELUX, Mr Gerhard Hrebicek, president of European Brand Institute and Mr Szelzak took part in the next panel – “Future of Handball Sponsoring”.
“Technology is not only changing sport, but also the way brands use sport to monetize and activate sponsorhips”, Szlezak explained. The biggest challenge for sponsors is to measure impact sport has for their brands. “What you can’t measure, you can’t manage. This is why it is extremely important to know how to use data. The next big step for us is to monetize digital tech. We need to use data to create stories and create emotion in fans, but also remain connected with fundamental, with our core product, and that is handball,” Mr Bobinac concluded.
Technology is rapidly changing almost every aspect of our life – from education, traveling, and communication to business and sport. Not so long ago, it would have been unimaginable to quickly gather accurate, real-time data, audio or video from almost every professional sports match in the world. Live statistics, live video streaming, VR, AR are just a small part of what technology has brought to sports, or to be more precise, to fans.
Data gathering, broadcasting, marketing, creating fan experience, but also coaching and playing are being largely influenced by latest technology, and sports professionals are still learning about all the benefits technology can bring. Although the impact technology has on sports may not be always instantly recognized, it has brought a huge increase both in visibility and revenue. Handball is no exception and can serve as an example to other sports.
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