Well, the USOC asked for sport development ideas and suggestions, so I took advantage of the opportunity. Here’s a summary of my suggestions:
– Establish an informal or formal partnership with the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Ireland and India Handball Federations:
— Develop an English-language marketing strategy to make television available to those countries.
— Partner with the English speaking nations to develop a European based sports academy/club.
– Establish a new competition as a bridge between club and national team play:
– Create an All-American Collegiate Team:
– Sell DVD copies of US matches:
More detail is provided in the extended post
[b]Establish an informal or formal partnership with the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Ireland and India Handball Federations[/b]: These nations have many common traits when it comes to Handball. Namely, they have developing programs that are not competitive and they speak English. Additionally, these nations and the US have demographics that present tremendous growth opportunities for Team Handball. Alone these nations may have difficulty in engaging with the EHF and IHF to further develop the sport in their country. Combined as one unified voice they could, however, have a greater impact. Areas that they should work together to commonly address:
– Develop an English-language marketing strategy to make television available to those countries. If video rights are waved for those nations and quality English language production can be made available at nominal cost, these markets would be ripe for increased exposure and growth. Such a strategy should be done in conjunction with the EHF and IHF and involve a concerted effort to get Handball on television. Additionally, someone with marketing expertise from one of the major US sports should be hired to effectively execute this strategy. The USOC alone could not do this, but the nations identified above, along with the EHF and IHF could.
– Partner with the English speaking nations to develop a European based sports academy/club. As the British Handball Association is already establishing a partnership with 2 Danish Sports Academies, I see no reason why such a partnership couldn’t be broadened to include athletes from all of the above nations. Subject to available funding, a limited number of athletes with significant potential should be sent to those Academies. The overall common costs could then be shared by the member nations pooling their resources together.
[b]Establish a new competition as a bridge between club and national team play: [/b] The gap in terms of the level of play between USA club competition and international competition is huge. To help bridge this gap a new competition, similar to the discontinued US Olympic Festival should be established. Club players with the potential to eventually play on the US National Team would be selected to play on regional teams. Teams would practice for one week and then play games for another week. This could be either strictly an American competition or structured as a combined Canadian/American competition, similar to what was developed by USA and Canadian Rugby with support from the International Rugby Board:
Official Site http://www.narugby.com/news.html
Wikipedia short descriptionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_America_4
[b]Create an All-American Collegiate Team: [/b] Similar to USA Rugby’s All-Americans a college all-star team could be established. This team would train together for a week to 10 days and then travel to Europe for 2 weeks of matches. Ideally, this would be fully funded, but if this is not feasible players would be notified that a portion of the trip would be self-funded. Such a team would provide a realistic goal for college handball athletes and serve as a stepping stone between club and national team play. http://www.usarugby.org/natteams/caa/index.html
[b]Sell DVD copies of US matches: [/b] While there is not a huge market for these DVDs, making these DVDs available for purchase will allow fans to feel more connected to the National Team programs. A simple way to set-up distribution would be to give the rights to sell to a youth program such as the CODP in Atlanta. They could then take responsibility for making copies of the DVD and shipping to interested parties. A nominal fee (perhaps $4) could be charged and proceeds could go to the youth program.