Sweden hosts World Handball playoffs 2011.
Billions of TV viewers, huge spectator crowds will head to eight cities in Sweden in January for the popular world sports event.
Amounting to the largest event in Scandinavia in 2011, and attracting teams from 24 different nations, the Men’s Handball World Championship will be held between January 13-30, and bronze match along with the final first place match will be played at the Malmö Arena.
The International Handball Federation's Council estimates that there will be up to two billion TV viewers in 150 countries and over 300,000 people from around the world in the audiences at host cities: Malmö, Kristianstad, Lund, Göteborg, Jönköping, Linköping, Norrköping and Skövde.
According to the sport's promoters, one of the aims of the Championship is to create a huge party that extends far beyond the arenas. Malmö will function as the center of the celebration and the city will vibrate from the atmosphere that comes with a tournament of this size.
"We are thrilled to be hosting so many matches in Malmö, including one of the semi finals and the final. We will see a great deal of handball played at its best," said Per-Olov Bergqvist, Assistant Director, Recreation and Sport Administration.
A Fan Zone surrounding the World Championships will be organized in the center of Malmö, about six minutes by train away from the Malmö Arena. At this location, spectators outside the arena itself will be able to watch every game on a big screen, eat, drink and cheer with crowds.
"We have already started preparing for the handball experience at the Fan Zone, Slagthuset in Malmö. With Denmark and Croatia playing at the Malmö Arena and with hopes for success for the Swedish team, we can’t expect anything other than a wonderful party, before and after the games," expects Petter Rörby, Project manager, Recreation and Sport Administration.
Sweden plays in Group D, against Argentina, Chile, Korea, Poland and Slovakia and will play its first games in Göteborg.
In 1938, the first indoor handball world championship was played in Berlin. The Swedish handball team has claimed four World Championship titles (most recently 1999) and four European Championships titles (most recently 2002), and was the runner-up in three consecutive Olympic finals (1992, 1996 and 2000).
The United States national handball team has now come under control of USA Team Handball. The US men's best finish in Olympic competition was a sixth place in 1936 at the inaugural Olympic tournament. The US women finished fourth in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, seventh in 1988 in Seoul, Korea; sixth in 1992 in Barcelona and eighth in 1996 in Atlanta. Throughout history, World Championships have been dominated by European teams, and medals have yet to be won by non-Europeans.
Buy tickets at www.ticnet.se
or through the ticket office at Scandinavium +46 31 811 020.
The championship runs from January 13 through January 30, 2011.
Several different sports are called handball. In Sweden and at the Olympics it’s a sport in which two teams try to throw the ball into their opponents' goal; team handball as opposed to American handball, which is a sport similar to squash where players hit the ball with a hand instead of a racquet. (There's also Australian, beach, Chinese, field... all of it handball)
Sweden has 110,000 active players of which 32% (44,000) are women, making it one of the ten most popular sports in Sweden. Compare with roughly one million soccer players or half a million golf players - both sports with, relatively, fewer female players.