Infront and Perform in box seat for EHF rights
By Martin Ross
A joint venture proposal from Infront, the Wanda-owned international sports marketing agency, and Perform, the digital sports content and media group, has been named as the preferred bid in the tender for the European Handball Federation’s commercial rights from 2020 to 2030.
The EHF announced today that its executive committee has given the green light for negotiations to begin with Infront and Perform for broadcast and sponsorship rights to the European Championships, which are currently marketed by Infront, along with EHF club competitions such as the flagship Champions League, broadcast rights to which are sold by MP & Silva at present.
Three firm bids “remain on the table,” according to the EHF.
However, Infront and Perform now look odds on to hammer out the finer details of an agreement ahead of the signing of a long-form contract.
The EHF said: “Detailed negotiations will now begin between the EHF and the Infront/Perform consortium to reach a final agreement. The two remaining bids will be considered if an agreement cannot be reached.”
The EHF invitation to tender went to a second round at the end of last year, and it is understood that, along with the Infront-Perform proposal, there was a rival offer from agency IMG, plus a bid from MP & Silva in a partnership with Sportradar (teaming up on digital operations).
The digital strategy offered by the Infront-Perform proposal is thought to have particularly impressed the EHF.
Final offers in the second round were submitted by 18 January, following on from the first-round deadline on 15 November, with a total of seven bids lodged by agencies and broadcasters.
Discovery Communications, the media group that owns Eurosport, submitted a bid in the first rounds, but did not progress to the second round.
In September, national broadcasters in popular handball markets also registered their interest in the tender, including DR, the Danish public-service broadcaster, Germany’s ARD and ZDF and France’s TF1 and France Télévisions.
Kicking off its invitation to tender process in September, documents were sent out by the EHF to 25 interested media companies or agencies, giving them nearly two months to prepare first-round bids.
Other companies to have been sent the tender included retail giant Amazon, social media platform Twitter, USA-based broadcaster Turner and the European Broadcasting Union.
The combined tender includes media and sponsorship rights to the EHF Euro from 2022 to 2030 and the European club competitions – the EHF Champions League, EHF Cup and Challenge Cup - from 2020 to 2030.
A total of 11 agencies were initially sent the documents and were split between those targeting both the broadcast and sponsorship rights, and agencies focused on the sponsorship rights alone.
EHF Marketing, the federation’s in-house commercial arm, currently sells sponsorship packages for the continent’s club competitions.
MP & Silva’s minimum guarantee for media rights for the current EHF club cycle is thought to be around €8 million ($9.9 million) per year.
The EHF appointed the SN1 Consulting rights agency to advise on the sales process and still expects to award the rights by the end of March at the latest.
A trio of sponsorship packages – named M1, M2 and M3 – were offered to the market in the EHF’s tender.
The M1 package includes all club competition games, while M2 comprises rights to all national team competitions. Marketing options across the EHF’s own platform and competition platforms are included. The M3 package comprises both M1 and M2.
|Summary of media rights packages in EHF 2020-2030 tender|
All EHF club competition matches (including qualifiers). Minimum of 600 games per season
|Free-to-air and pay-TV|
|Package B1||Selected national team games from men's and women's EHF Euros. 8 to 9 matches per territory and EHF cycle||Free-to-air|
|Package B2||Total of 359 to 367 matches per cycle from national team competitions: men's and women's EHF Euros (including qualifiers); men's under-20 Euro and under-20 Championship; men's under-18 Euro and under-18 Championship; men's EHF Beach Euro; women's under-19 Euro and under-19 Championship; women's under-17 Euro and under-17 Championship; women's EHF Beach Euro||Pay-TV|
|Package B3||National team competitions (as covered by Packages B1 and B2). Total of 359 to 367 matches per cycle||Free-to-air and pay-TV|
|Package C1||Combination of Packages A and B1||Free-to-air and pay-TV (for club competitions) and free-to-air (for national team games)|
|Package C2||Combination of Packages A and B2||Free-to-air and pay-TV (for club competitions) and pay-TV (for national team games)|
|Package C3||Combination of Packages A and B3||Free-to-air and pay-TV|