The European Handball Federation (EHF), the sport’s continental governing body, has revealed strong digital numbers in terms of reach and engagement for the Men’s EHF Euro 2022.

The tournament generated almost 20 million engagements across the EHF’s social channels, marking an increase of more than two-thirds from the 2020 edition.

In addition, the event reached almost 420 million people, an increase of more than 82% from the previous tournament.

The EHF said the change reflects the increase in content published – which was also up by 22% – “as well as the ongoing efforts of both the EHF and its commercial partners to bring handball to new audiences”.

The number of new followers on the federation’s social media platforms also surpassed 155,000, a growth of 112%.

Broadcast time grew by over 40% to 5,150 hours whilst the event was more widely shown in Asia for the first time.

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There was also a significant increase within Europe. Eventual champions Sweden saw its domestic live audience increase by more than 30% to 28 million whilst runners-up Spain increased theirs by 75% to just under 12 million.

The EHF attributed the strong figures to the digital strategy put in place with media and marketing partners DAZN Group, the international digital sports media company, and Infront, the sports marketing agency.

The handball federation and its EHF Marketing arm agreed to a 10-year exclusive partnership with the two companies that began in July 2020.

As commercial partners of the EHF, DAZN and Infront have a contract to handle rights until 2030 in a deal worth between €500 million ($550 million) and €600 million in rights fees and services. 

Stewart Walker, DAZN Group executive vice-president of global rights partnerships, said: "These figures show how our digital approach is engaging handball fans, boosting audience numbers, and making EHF’s competitions more accessible than ever before.

“Together with Infront, our progressive digital marketing and content strategy is driving commercial growth and helping handball reach new fans worldwide."

Julien Ternisien, Infront senior vice-president summer sports, added: "Since work began on this updated digital strategy we have seen continued growth at every subsequent event.

“The audience for handball is growing year-on-year and the sport is expanding into new markets in a way it has never done before."

The Men's EHF Euro took place in Hungary and Slovakia from 13 to 30 January and was won by Sweden.

The 65 matches were screened in 114 countries and territories around the world.