Germany handball show burst-at-seams crowd


Handball attendance record in Germany Image: European Handball Federation

The Men’s European Handball Federation EHF EURO 2024 in Germany at the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA in Düsseldorf was held on January 10th in front of a world-record audience, setting the stage for what is likely to become the biggest European Handball Championship in history.

‘EHF’ stated that 53,586 fans were present inside the football stadium when the EHF EURO opened with the matches of Olympic champions France vs. North Macedonia (39:29) and hosts Germany vs. Switzerland.

The European Handball Federation (EHF) is the umbrella organization for European handball. Founded on November 17th, 1991, it is made of 50 member-federations and two associated federations, and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

The 2024 EHF European Men’s Handball Championship is the 16th edition of the tournament and the third to feature 24 national teams. It is being hosted by Germany and got off to a start from January 10th and will conclude on January 28th.

The MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA is a football stadium in Düsseldorf, Germany. It has a retractable roof and can host up to 54,600 spectators for soccer games and up to 66,000 fans for concerts. The arena is the home of the 2. Bundesliga team Fortuna Düsseldorf.

‘EHF’ further stated that the attendance broke the previous spectator record of 44,189 which had been set at a German ‘Day of Handball’ in Frankfurt on September 6thh, 2014.

The Men’s EHF EURO 2024 currently underway in Germany is the first to be played with 24 teams in one single country. Following the opening day in Düsseldorf, the championship continues with preliminary round matches in Berlin (Groups A and D), Mannheim (B and E) and Munich (C and F).

While the final matches at the EHF EURO level had been played in football stadiums before, it was the first time that a football arena hosted an opening match.

In total, 65 matches will be played until the winning nation is crowned at the 20,000-capacity Lanxess Arena in Cologne on January 28th and, for the first time ever in EHF EURO history, more than one million fans are expected to witness the games in the arenas over the next 18 days.

Besides the world-record attendance in Düsseldorf, the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 enjoys worldwide recognition with the tournament being broadcast to more than 100 territories.

Maintained Michael Wiederer, President of the European Handball Federation, “This is a dream start for the Men’s EHF EURO 2024. Starting with a world record provides all the ingredients for what is hopefully to become the biggest Men’s EHF EURO to date. It is the European Handball Federation’s goal to improve the product EHF EURO year by year, and such highlights can help the future organizers as they serve as a template to show what is possible in handball.”

Added Andreas Michelmann, President of the German Handball Federation, “January 10th, 2024 is a day for the history books of handball. It was a huge challenge to build such a great stage for our sport in a football stadium. We would like to thank everyone who helped us turning the idea of such a world record opening matchday into reality. We also understand this as message: Look at Düsseldorf, experience how fantastic handball is and how special this European Championship will be. This day also further underlines that Germany has a knack for major sporting events.”

Said Dr. Stephan Keller, Lord Mayor of the City of Düsseldorf, “With the European Handball Championship being played right at the beginning of this Olympic super sports year 2024, Düsseldorf is once again positioning itself as a sports City and a City that is predestined to host events with international appeal. The State capital of Düsseldorf is proud to host this memorable world record matchday. I wish us all an outstanding tournament which is set to provide the best advertising for the sport of handball!”

Live Audio Description

The Opening Day of the Men’s EHF EURO 2024 also marked the premiere for the first live audio description service. All matches of the German national team as well as a top game on any other matchday will be included in the service which is offered free of charge via an integrated player on the official EHF EURO 2024 website.

The service is available for all fans – those in the arena and those who are following the matches from elsewhere.

Audio description stands for the professional auditory narration through experienced reporters. It enables visually impaired fans to follow the 60 minutes of play, with everything that is happening on and off the handball court explained in detail.

The web player with all streams will be accessible at

For the overview of matches with audio descriptions go here

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