9 January 2017
As the 25th Men’s Handball World Championship opens this Wednesday, the organisers are already pleased with the enormous popularity generated by the competition with French and foreign handball fans. 431,000 spectators are already expected in the eight venues hosting the competition from 11th to 29th January.
This popularity, which was already palpable during the first phase of ticketing (sales of ticket packages), has been confirmed by the single ticket sales having rapidly accelerated approaching the holidays, after sales opened on September 15th, with a positive current trend of 5,000 tickets sold per day. These good figures are certainly a great satisfaction for the Organising Committee, which has put in place a voluntary ticketing policy in order to meet its three objectives: to balance the budget, ensure that the first round of matches is attended by the greatest numbers of spectators possible, and to pass down a legacy by opening handball to new audiences.
This ticketing strategy has taken the form of an innovative policy for this type of tournament: “1 ticketing session for 1 match” (a first), allowing an attractive price offer, a sale in three stages, numerous promotions and the daring gamble to play a round of preliminary matches without the French team at the AccorHotels Arena (23 games in total in Paris). All these factors explain the popular success of the 2017 World Championship, the third men’s championship organised in France after 1970 and 2001, in which 431,000 spectators are already guaranteed at the eight competition venues, occupying to date 67% of the capacity, well on the way to exceeding the initial target of 70%.
“This is already a huge success,” says Joël Delplanque, Chairman of the Organising Committee. “We must not forget that the total number of spectators present in 2001 was around 200,000. We had to change our habits, and think outside the box to come up with an innovative strategy. Handball today is changing scope, which is immensely satisfying. Moreover, with more than half of the spectators coming from outside the world of handball, a proportion that should continue to rise in the days to come, we have reached our goal of openness and legacy”.
Concretely, although the French public is largely a majority, we notice that 10% of tickets sold has been to foreign audiences, 6,000 to Germans (for their team’s preliminary matches in Rouen, but also in Metz or for the final in Paris). Other foreign fans expected in numbers are: Norwegians who will be 450 per game in Nantes, Icelanders (200 per game), who left very good memories in France during the 2016 European football games and who will be supporting their team in Metz, which will also be visited by many Tunisian fans (200 per game), no doubt joined by the Tunisian community living in France. As for the Danes and Swedes (150 per game each), they will be filling the stands of the AccorHotels Arena where they will compete on Monday 16th January for a 100% Scandinavian match that promises to be very exciting.
Two days before the kick-off of the World Championship, many matches are already sold out: the final, the games of the French team in Nantes, and also, a great satisfaction, preliminary matches without France: Poland/Brazil (Pool A) in Nantes, three games from Pool C in Rouen (Hungary/Croatia, Chile/Germany, Germany/Croatia), two from Pool B in Metz (Tunisia/Spain and Spain/Iceland), while only a few tickets remain for Wednesday’s opening match at the AccorHotels Arena between five-time world champion France and Brazil, which will also fill up. “I am very happy to see that we are opening this World Championship with an excellent occupancy rate on the pool matches in all the venues. We wanted to avoid having too many games with low attendance at the start of the competition, as is often the case in this type of tournament. I am very satisfied with these figures just a few hours before the start of the competion,” said Edouard Donnelly, the Director of the Organising Committee.
Details of the spectators expected site by site:
Albertville: almost full!
17,000 spectators are already expected in all three games, two rounds of sixteen (21st-22ndJanuary) and a quarterfinal (24th January), so an occupancy rate of 86%. The Olympic Hall should fill up!
Brest: the handball players are there!
11,100 spectators are expected to attend the President’s Cup with the eight teams having finished fifth and sixth places in their pools, a 67% occupancy rate. A very good score that confirms the Bretons’ enthusiasm for handball.
Lille: record in sight!
50,000 spectators (60% occupancy), including 20,000 already guaranteed on the potential round of sixteen of the French team on Saturday 21st January which should fill up (28,000 in handball configuration); the Pierre Mauroy stadium should set a world record for a handball match in an international competition!
Metz: Spain, Tunisia and Iceland bring in the crowds
44,000 spectators, 55% occupancy, two matches sold out; remarkable numbers in Metz for pool matches of a handball World Championship, excluding the host team, and there are still places for some great games, with Spain, Slovenia, Iceland, Tunisia, Macedonia and Angola.
Montpellier: France effect?
17,000 spectators expected (67% occupancy) and a high number of ticket sales in recent days, undoubtedly due to the arrival of the French team on Sunday, who played its last preparatory match against Slovenia at the Arena.
Nantes: THE appointment
100,000 spectators already and 68% occupancy rate, with spectators coming from all over France to fill the immense stadium and its 10,500 seats, following mainly the French team, World Championship title holders who will play their matches in Pool A in Nantes (excluding France / Brazil).
Rouen: The Germany and Croatia double effect
Three Germany and Croatia matches sold out at the Kindarena, 48,000 spectators expected to date, and Mannschaft supporters in great numbers. For a few days Rouen will be the capital of German handball.
Paris: it’s going to be a big success!
145,000 spectators and 58% occupancy. The starting volume for the matches of Pool D, the round of sixteen and quarterfinals played in Paris is “lower bowl”, that is, 9,134 places. But it has already been necessary to reopen the gates for Argentina/Sweden and Qatar/Argentina, which will exceed 10,000 spectators and will therefore be played in total arena configuration! The opening game (a few places still available), the semi-finals (available) and the final will be played with tickets sold out well in advance, with 14,857 spectators.