Half of Denmark watched handball World Cup final triumph

It may be a niche sport internationally, but over half of Denmark’s population were glued to their television sets and computer screens as the country became handball world champions for the first time.

Half of Denmark watched handball World Cup final triumph
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

In addition to 15,000 spectators at Boxen arena in Herning, 2.74 million also watched the match from home, according to broadcaster DR’s research unit DR Medieforskning.

The final against Scandinavian neighbours Norway was broadcast on both main channels, DR1 and TV2, with 1.58 million viewers tuning in to the former channel and 1.16 million watching the match on the latter.

That is a much larger television audience than the group stage match between the same teams, which was seen by 1.86 million people on DR.

According to DR, more people watched last night’s handball final than the final of the 1992 football UEFA European Championships, when Denmark famously defeated Germany 2-0 to pull off a shock tournament victory.

The all-time record audience for a television broadcast remains an episode of the hugely popular and influential 1978-81 series Matador, a chronicle of life in a provincial Danish town in the early 20th century.

A 1986 repeat of an episode of Matador was seen by 3.6 million people.

However, different methodology in the 1980s means that viewing figures from the period are not a direct comparison to those measured today.

The population of Denmark in the third quarter of 2018 was 5,806,000, according to official agency Statistics Denmark.

Norwegian news agency NTB reports that 1.1 million people in Norway watched the match on channel TV3.

READ ALSO: Danes crush Norway to win first men's handball world title


Norway backs out of co-hosting Euro handball champs with Denmark over Covid

Norway has pulled out of co-hosting the women's European handball championship just two weeks before the start in December due to restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic, its federation said on Monday.

Norway backs out of co-hosting Euro handball champs with Denmark over Covid
Denmark playing against Norway at last year's handball world cup in Japan. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

“Based on in-depth assessments by Norwegian health authorities as well as clear demands from Norwegian political authorities, it is now clear that Norway cannot be an organiser of the women's European handball championship,” the federation said.

Denmark is now considering whether to host the event on its own.

Strict restrictions are however currently in place in the North Jutland region, where some of the matches were due to be played, after a mutated version of the virus was found in the country's mink population, infecting 12 people.

The European Handball Federation “very much regrets the decision of the Norwegian government”, it said in a statement, referring to the Norwegian health authorities' refusal to grant exemptions to the strict measures it has imposed.

Under current rules, if a player or team official tests positive for the virus the entire team must quarantine, as well as the teams that it has opposed just prior.

The rules are less strict in Denmark.

“Alternatives are being sought with the Danish Handball Association and additional information will be released on Tuesday at the latest,” the European Handball Federation said.

Norway had been due to host around 60 percent of matches, including the final, in Trondheim.

While Norway has been one of the countries in Europe least affected by the pandemic, it has seen a recent uptick in cases which has led authorities to introduce a series of measures, notably on cultural and sporting events.

READ ALSO: Extra coronavirus restrictions 'halve travel' inside Danish region