The Canary in the Icelandic Coalmine

When ever anyone asks me where is Handball popular in the world, I rattle off several countries in Europe, and I'll usually mention that in Iceland it's their number 1 sport. Based on this article in the Iceland Review , however, my standard litany is going to need updating. Yes, shockingly basketball has now clearly outstipped handball in popularity in Iceland.

You'll see a lot of articles on the IHF and EHF websites heralding the ever increasing popularity of the sport, but they often mask the big challenges the sport faces against the baskeball juggernaut of the NBA. The reality is that Handball is in danger of further marginalization if the sport's leaders don't start to get a little more creative with the marketing and promotion of the sport. That's not to say that nothing's being done. Efforts like the EHF's free web broadcasts of the Champions League and the LNH's trip to Miami are to be commended. Much more, however, is needed to turn the tide if they are going to convince Icelandic kids to quit shooting hoops.

Although one could argue that this is actually good news for developing countries like the USA and Great Britain. If countries like Iceland have a shrinking talent pool, then they logically aren't going to be as good anymore and the gap between the haves and have should lessen.