In the last episode of Handball Talk we hinted that a big announcement concerning viewing options for the European Championship would be forthcoming. And a big announcement it is as viewers around the world will be able to watch every match, free, live and on demand via the world’s #1 online video delivery system: YouTube
Long time readers of Team Handball News are fully aware of the highs and lows that Handball fans around the world have experienced in regards to webstreaming. At times it has been Handball Nirvana as fans that previously had no viewing options were suddenly able to watch every match of a major tournament. Conversely, at times it has been Handball Hell with fans paying a subscription for poor quality webstreams, horrendous audio commentary and non-existent customary service.
It remains to be seen how the YouTube option will work this time around, but showcasing Handball for free on the world’s best known webstreaming platform is an experiment worth trying.
A few notes on the YouTube webstreaming and upcoming matches:
Availability: The following countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France, Belarus, Russia, Israel, Croatia, Iceland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania and Spain) will be geoblocked from live broadcasts. According to the EHF website, however, there will be no restrictions for on demand viewing after the match.
On Demand: For fans that can’t watch live, the EHF has indicated that video of full matches will be available on demand. It is not clear, however, how soon after completion that the match will be posted for viewing. Additionally, I have requested that the EHF YouTube interface refrain from posting final scores and pictures of celebrating teams, lest they ruin it for those fans that like to watch oblivious of the outcome. Hopefully, this sensible request will be met, but be prepared to click on the links with a piece of paper to shield you from too much information.
Audio Commentary: The EHF will have veteran broadcasters, Paul Bray and Clayton Lewis, providing commentary for some of the matches
Match Schedule: I strongly recommend that you download the following schedule for reference the next two weeks: http://www.ehf-euro.com/fileadmin/ehfeuro/EChM2012/Downloads/Match_Schedule_Mens_EHF_EURO_2012_.pdf
(Match times are local for Serbia which is 6 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast)
Two Key Early Matches:
Sunday, 15 January, 1720 CET, Germany vs. Czech Republic
These two nations are top contenders for the 2 European slots that will be awarded for Olympic Qualification Tournaments. This match could be pivotal to Olympic Qualification and with the bulk of the Czech team playing in the German Bundesliga these players all know each other well.
Monday, 16 January, 1815 CET, France vs. Spain
This match may set the tone for the rest of the tournament for these two teams. France is the favorite to win it all and Spain was the only team to blemish France’s record at last year’s World Championships. (They played to a 28-28 draw) The loser of this match may very well have to win out if they want to advance to the semifinals.
EHF Announcement (11 Jan 2012): http://www.eurohandball.com/article/014514/Live+streaming+on+YouTube
EHF YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/ehfeuro