Will Team Handball Ever Become Internationally Popular?
Handball players and followers of the sport have been known to frequently gripe about the low status of their sport, particularly when it comes to TV broadcasts and news coverage. The complaints typically point to the fact that handball’s worldwide popularity is way out of proportion to the amount of coverage it gets, and that if sports outlets and TV station would simply catch on, handball could become one of the most popular sports in the world.
It’s hard to say exactly how popular handball is, because there’s no easy way to quantify this. What can’t be doubted is that it’s far more popular than many sports that are included in the Olympics. But of course, this isn’t exactly a valid complaint, because it’s not as if handball has been shunned by the Olympic committee. In fact, handball is included in the Summer Olympics, and it always gets pretty good ratings.
But of course, that’s a minor sore spot for many fans of handball. The game always gets a spike in popularity around the Summer Olympics, and everyone in the sport always gets optimistic, thinking it will maybe stick this time around, but alas, the buzz always fades. People forget about the sport for four more years, while the players continue to toil in obscurity.
Plus, there really is no logic to the Olympic Committee’s sports selection process, so that’s nothing to go on. They recently kicked baseball and softball out of the Games, and both of those sports are arguably more popular than team handball.
For now, followers of handball might simply have to accept the status of their sport. After all, they’re not alone in this. Soccer may be the biggest sport in the world, but tell that to people in the U.S., where Major League Soccer is lucky to make it into the back pages of the sports section.
And let’s not forget that there are some countries where team handball is rather popular. This usually corresponds to countries that play the game at the highest level. For example, the French team has been wildly successful in international competition over the last few years, and the country has seen a resulting spike in young French people wanting to get involved in the sport. Then there are places like North Africa, where certain regions contain rabid handball followings, while other regions don’t have a handball presence at all.