Whether you’ve been a Team Handball fan your entire life, or just discovered the sport flipping through channels yesterday, you’re soon going to have to come to grips with the stark reality that the Olympics are over and along with that fact, so is your opportunity to watch the sport on TV in the U.S– at least in the immediate future. But, fortunately there are some remedies that can help alleviate the pain of withdrawal.
[b]1) Follow the sport on the web: [/b] The Olympics is just but one tournament, albeit an important one. The club season will be starting very soon in Europe and the Women’s European Championship will be in December and the Men’s World Championship will be in January. (Can the French beat the Croatians in Zagreb?) There are video web streaming options available. Notably, the European Handball Federation (EHF) has streamed Champions League matches for free and the German Bundesliga has a pay per view package available at HBL.TV www.hbl.tv. The quality of the video stream for HBL.TV is great, much better than the NBC stream, but it also isn‘t free. Both the European Championships and World Championships will also likely be streamed, but it’s TBD as to what the quality and price will be.
[b]2) Join a movement to bring Team Handball on TV in the U.S.[/b] Earlier this year, I wrote an April Fool’s Day article that believe it or not, fooled a lot of people.
IHF, EHF and Major National Leagues Form TV Partnership: http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.480
Shortly, thereafter, I wrote a mea culpa http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.481 where I discussed forming a fan based movement to get Team Handball on TV. I’ve been remiss in following through on this plan, but I promise to get it started soon. I’ll also emphasize this isn’t just a pipedream. I’ve spoken with the folks at the Australian Football Association of North America (AFANA) www.afana.com
about the impact their organization has had in getting Australian Football on TV in the USA. Their movement started out as a group of fans writing a few letters, but morphed into an entity that was instrumental in a multi-million dollar TV contract being signed with Setanta Sports to broadcast Footy in the U.S. If a non-Olympic sport, predominant in only one country, requiring a humongous field and 36 players can gain traction in the U.S. it’s only a matter of time before Handball can do the same.
[b]3) Get involved with a local club or start one of your own.[/b] Contact USA Team Handball www.usateamhandball.org for information on clubs in your local area. If there isn’t a club nearby, look into starting your own. In the past two weeks, I’ve gotten about 10 emails from folks in Las Vegas wanting to play Team Handball. And each of those individuals contacted me after checking out this Google Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=103598029638506187982.000440c7641749acb6497 (Look out LA, the Vegas Rattlers will be gunning for you in a few months.) Also, note that anyone can edit this map and put a marker down for a club. Who knows, there could be another handball fan who lives half a mile from you.
[b]4) Make plans to see professional Team Handball in the United States.[/b] Yes, that’s right in the United States. Miami is scheduled to host the French League Cup Final Four, April 10-12, 2009. http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.529 It’s TBD as to which French Clubs will qualify for the trip to Miami, but it’s hard to imagine that Chambery and Montpellier won’t make it. That means French Olympic Champions, David Narcisse, Joel Abati, Cedric Burdet, Michael Guigou will be playing at the Miami Arena next April.
So, hopefully these four remedies will help you recover from Olympic Team Handball withdrawal. Bogdan, Bjoern and I will do our best to keep you informed of what’s happening in the Team Handball world. Stay tuned for more stories about the U.S. development efforts and Handball on TV.