The first matches of the Women’s European Handball Championship are taking place in Denmark today, and this year’s tournament is already generating a lot of excitement amongst the sport’s fans across the country.
In this edition of the Better Collective Spotlight, Toke Parbo – Content Manager at Better Collective – discusses why the sport has become so popular in Denmark and how SpilXperten will engage with their community of sports fans during the tournament at a time when stadium capacities are so limited.
SBC: Firstly, why do you think handball is so popular across the Nordics and the rest of Europe?
TP: Denmark has a great history in the sport, with both the women’s team and the men’s team having won the Olympics, the World Cup, the European Championships – something a lot of Danes are proud of.
Our relatively small country has produced some of the sport’s most exciting players of all time, such as Anja Andersen and Mikkel Hansen (both have been awarded Best Player in the World during their careers), and they act as great role models for the younger generations.
SBC: With a last-minute change of the tournament’s location, having moved from Norway to Denmark, how has SpilXperten engaged with sports bettors across Denmark?
TP: It came as a last-minute surprise that Denmark all of a sudden needed to act as the sole host of the tournament. I am sure this will only lead to increased excitement about the tournament in our country.
The European Championships in handball is an event that excites a lot of Danes, and we of course use this opportunity to engage with our community through analysis, engaging questions, etc. We are very much looking forward to the start of the tournament and there is no doubt that the same goes for the sports fans in our community.
SBC: How are you using expert opinions to boost awareness of the tournament?
TP: Among other approaches, we have brought on a former Danish International as a handball expert that will be analysing and predicting the outcome of Denmark’s games during the tournament.
We look forward to getting the insights on Denmark’s matches from a former professional and I am sure many in the SpilXperten community as well will look forward to reading the analysis.
SBC: With more people staying indoors due to European lockdown measures, do you anticipate a higher influx of bettors engaging with the European Handball Championships?
TP: The big championships generally are events that ‘gather’ a lot of Danes. Despite the fact that we cannot get together physically, we expect the European Championships to be one of the positive happenings that people can unite around behind the screens.
Again this year, we expect that the European Championships will be a tournament where many Danish bettors will seek entertainment and place bets on their favourite teams.
SBC: And finally, could Denmark have a home-team advantage in this year’s tournament?
TP: I think it is safe to say that we have a great handball audience in Denmark, and this has previously given us a home-team advantage at big European Championships in Handball. However, given the restrictions this home-team advantage might not be as big as it would have been otherwise (maybe we can still benefit a bit from “venue familiarity”).
At the moment, 500 people are allowed to gather in Denmark, and at the matches a big part of this number will be players, staff and other admin personnel to manage the event, leaving little room for fans. Despite this, I am confident that we will be able to enjoy a fantastic tournament with top athletes and nerve-wrecking matches.
At SpilXperten, our experts do not consider Denmark as the favourite. Norway looks extremely strong – but let’s see; underdogs have won before…