EHF EURO 2024 reaches first milestone; world record dream comes true
The dream of the German Handball Association and the European Handball Federation has come true: 118 days before the start of the Men's EHF EURO 2024, the organisers confirm the world attendance record for a handball game will be broken and more than 50,000 spectators will attend the opening matchday on 10 January 2024 in the MERKUR Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf.
With the start of the next ticket sales phase for the first men's European Handball Championship on German soil on Wednesday 13 September, the 'magic mark' of 50,000 tickets sold has been exceeded.
The current world attendance record for a handball match was also set in a German football stadium: 44,189 fans attended Rhein-Neckar Löwen against HSV Hamburg in the Frankfurt Arena on 6 September 2014.
For Germany, that match broke the 10-year-old best mark of 30,925 spectators at the Bundesliga match between TBV Lemgo and THW Kiel on 12 September 2004 in the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen.
In May 2011, 36,651 fans attended the Danish championship final between AG Kobenhavn and Bjerringbro-Silkeborg in Copenhagen's Parken Stadium, setting the world record at that time.*
The largest crowd at a Men's EHF EURO level so far has been 20,022 fans: the MVM Dome in Budapest was sold out three times for Hungary’s preliminary round matches at the Men's EHF EURO 2022.
EHF General Secretary Martin Hausleitner says: "With the MERKUR Spiel-Arena expected to be sold out on the opening matchday, we have already reached the first milestone of the EHF EURO 2024. More than 50,000 fans in the stadium and a world record attendance stand for the enthusiasm that the tournament arouses in Germany and internationally. Now it is time to join forces with DHB and continue to work together as effectively as before for the remaining months, so that the Men's EHF EURO 2024 sets standards for European handball from start to finish – and I am sure it will set for the future."
"We are overwhelmed that we have surpassed the world record mark so early and sold more than 50,000 tickets for the opening day. This record underlines the importance of the EHF EURO 2024 and the enthusiasm of the German handball audience," says Mark Schober, Chairman of the Board of the German Handball Federation.
"We also hope that the arenas in the other venues will be sold out as often as possible. German handball fans can see many world stars known from the Bundesliga up close, too. We also have a very high number of ticket orders from abroad for all venues," Schober adds.
Officially, the MERKUR Spiel-Arena is not yet completely sold out for 10 January 2024, but currently no more tickets are on sale for the opening matchday of group A with the games France against North Macedonia (18:00 CET) and Germany against Switzerland (20:45 CET).
"It might happen that a very low number of tickets can go on sale again," Schober says.
Day tickets are still available for the preliminary round matches in groups B, C, D, E and F as well as for the main round matchdays in Cologne and Hamburg and the final weekend in Cologne's LANXESS arena on 26/28 January.
The MERKUR Spiel-Arena is the home of second division football team Fortuna Düsseldorf and can accommodate 54,600 visitors for football matches and up to 66,000 fans for concerts. A world attendance record has already been set here once before: even before the official inauguration, the first football match took place on 10 September 2004 with 38,123 spectators witnessing a 2:0 win for Fortuna against Union – and as both sides competed in the regional league at that time, it was a world record attendance for fourth league football.
*the text has been corrected to include the record-breaking Danish championship final in May 2011 between AG Kobenhavn and Bjerringbro-Silkeborg which was attended by 36,651 fans. The earlier version had not mentioned that match