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NEWS REPORT: Fourth edition of EHF Club Management Seminar on the fringes of the VELUX EHF

Discussing the digital fan

How can handball be part of and take profit of the digital revolution? How can clubs turn investments in social media and digital communities into money by fan activation, sale of merchandising or improving the image? Those were some of the main topics of the fourth edition of the EHF Club Management Seminar on the fringes of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.

From Finland to FYR Macedonia, from clubs to universities to federation – the mixture of participants was wide. From Thursday to Saturday the seminar was an exchange of ideas and a transfer of knowledge from scientific researchers to handball. After a more general media management seminar in 2014, this year the focus was on digital strategies, social media and virtual communities.

Opened by EHF President Jean Brihault, the 17 participants coming from 10 countries learnt by best practise examples from clubs and federations, but also were taught the latest results of scientific research.

“The most important fact for us is that this seminar is interactive. All participants participated actively, bringing in examples from their daily work”, said Helmut Höritsch, chairman of the EHF Competence and Activity Network (CAN), who organized the seminar in cooperation with the German Sport University and Axel Sierau (agency Marketing Minds).

Besides the main question “What works well in my club?” the agenda included lectures like “The digital fan – supporter and opponent in one person” or “From digital marketing to digital monetization”.

“Online media are an important value for clubs and federations, it is all about planning, implementing, monitoring and analysing the right strategies to be successful,” Stefan Walzel (German Sports University) explained.

Sierau focused on the chances of interaction with fans and financial profit by merchandising, while Stephan Schröder of REPUCOM gave an overview of the current status of handball in research. The EHF digital strategy was presented by JJ Rowland, Head of Media and Communication.

Another part of the seminar was the digital fan communication of German Basketball Player Tibor Pleiss or the use of technology in the “Eriksson Live Arena” at the 2015 Nordic Ski World Championship, a project of live data use for athletes, coaches, doctors, TV and fans and the potential transformation on handball – presented by Staffan Olsson, Swedish national team coach.

The seminar concluded by a presentation of and a discussion about the work of the European Handball Players Union (EHPU) after an example of the economical importance of a handball club for a city.  “We are very satisfied to have organised this course, as we all have the responsibility for the future of handball on all our shoulders,” Brihault said in his key note.

“The seminar was a full success, as all lecturers managed to transfer theoretical and scientific content and knowledge in very practical examples, all participants can use in their daily work for clubs and federations,” Höritsch concluded.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / br