International sports marketing agency Infront has announced a new streaming service dedicated to showing the European Handball Federation’s (EHF) club competitions across the Nordics after failing to secure a broadcast partner in the region.
The Handball-Kanalen.TV service, created and managed by the agency’s digital and technology arm Infront Lab, will be available in Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden and will show all matches live and on-demand from the men’s and women’s top-tier EHF Champions League and second-tier EHF European League.
All Nordic clubs participating in the four competitions will gain their own channel, which will become available ahead of the 2023-24 season and feature dedicated content and an option for fans to watch matches pay-per-view.
There will be 21 teams from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden competing in the two men’s and two women’s competitions this season.
The 2023-24 women’s EHF Champions League will start on September 9 featuring Denmark’s Odense and Esbjerg, Sweden’s IK Savehof, and Norway’s Kristiansand, while the men’s equivalent begins on September 13 with Denmark’s Aalborg and GOG, as well as Norway’s Kolstad.
Damian Browarnik, managing director of Infront Lab, said: “Fans in the Nordics have a deep-seated passion for handball, and we want to ensure they have a seamless, enriched, and personalized viewing journey.
“Handball-Kanalen.TV will help redefine the fan experience, bringing them closer to the game they love, adding more touchpoints between clubs and supporters whilst also offering opportunities for sponsors to gain exposure beyond the match.”
Infront sells media rights to EHF’s club and national team competitions, as well as sponsorship rights to the governing body’s national team tournaments in a deal running to 2030. Sponsorship rights to the EHF’s club competitions are sold by the governing body's in-house EHF Marketing arm.
The new service comes after Infront failed to renew its rights deal with pan-European broadcaster Viaplay, which held rights to EHF’s club competitions in the Nordics from the 2018-19 to 2022-23 seasons. That deal, struck in 2018, includes rights to show the International Handball Federation’s World Championship until 2025 and the EHF’s European Championship through 2026.
Viaplay has recently severely contracted its international operations, shutting down its sporting coverage in multiple countries and placing much more emphasis on its core Nordic markets, such as Denmark.
In late July, it made public a decision to lay off more than 25% of its workforce, amid substantial financial difficulties. It also sold off two minority stakes last month to French pay-TV heavyweight Canal Plus and to PPF Group.
Infront then launched a new media sale process in the Nordic region for several of its sports properties, including handball, in May covering the 2023-24 to 2029-30 seasons but failed to find a new broadcast partner, leading to the agency launching the streaming service.
Amikam Kranz, vice president of media, betting, and technology at Infront, said: “This initiative serves as a compelling testament to the imperative need for flexibility, adaption, and innovation in the constantly changing world of media rights. Navigating unprecedented broadcast challenges Infront Lab has delivered an effective solution in collaboration with the group’s media team.
“This is the perfect example of the potential our combined teams offer to rightsholders. It’s particularly encouraging that, a year after integrating our media, betting, and technology units, we are already witnessing tangible results.”
Infront said the new platform will run in parallel with its partnership with the Swedish Handball League.
That five-year deal, announced in April, saw Infront Lab create a digital ecosystem for the top-tier men’s and women’s handball competitions in Sweden, offering fans customized platforms for each team.