‘Cathedral of Handball’ retains EHF’s Men’s Final4

Featured image credit: LANXESS arena

The European Handball Federation (EHF) has locked down the destinations for the finales of its showpiece men’s and women’s club competitions for the foreseeable future after agreeing an early three-year extension to its deal with the City of Cologne and LANXESS arena.

The contract for staging the final weekend of the Men’s EHF Champions League in Cologne had been due to run until 2026, following an extension signed in June 2022. However, this will now run until 2029 with a new agreement announced as LANXESS arena hosted this season’s Final4 at the weekend.

The hosting agreement started in 2010 when the first event in the German city was held in front of a capacity crowd of 19,750 spectators. This attendance mark was again attained at the weekend, with the 2029 edition set to mark the event’s 20th anniversary at what has been dubbed the ‘Cathedral of Handball’.

David Szlezak, managing director of EHF Marketing, said: “Over the past 15 years, the EHF Final4 has established itself as the leading sports event on the European indoor sports market.

“This not only holds true for the outstanding quality of the sport and the entertainment on offer around the games; the EHF Final4 is a platform highly valued by our partners and sponsors as it allows them, in multiple and innovative ways, to connect with our audience and reach new target groups.

“Living up to these benchmarks and creating unforgettable experiences every year is one of our biggest incentives. This is only possible, and in no small part, thanks to the long-term partnerships we have developed and now prolonged with trusted partners including the City of Cologne, LANXESS arena, and our local partner, Stadionwelt.”

Stefan Löcher, managing director of LANXESS arena, added: “Fourteen incredible final tournaments have taken place here and turned LANXESS arena into the ‘Cathedral of Handball’. Today, we further cement our common future: the final tournament of the EHF Champions League will stay in Cologne until 2029.

“This means that by then we will have hosted the best world’s best handball for 20 years. This success story is incomparable to anything else in sport. The extension is a huge sign of trust in us and in Cologne as a location for top-level sports.”

Cologne’s securing of the Men’s Final4 comes after the EHF this month announced that the final weekend of the Champions League Women season will continue to be played at Budapest’s MVM Dome arena until 2027.

The EHF Final4 Women will remain in the Hungarian capital after the EHF agreed a new three-year deal with the Hungarian Handball Federation (HHF) and the Hungarian National Event Management Agency (NEMA).

Budapest has hosted the event since 2014, initially at the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna before it moved to the new MVM Dome in 2022.