USATH announces partnership with Germany's Toyota Handball Bundesliga

March 26, 2009, 2:10 p.m. (ET)
(Salt Lake City, UT – March 26, 2009) USA Team Handball (USATH), the Salt Lake City-based National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of handball, today announced a comprehensive partnership with the top professional handball league in the world, Germany’s Toyota Handball Bundesliga (HBL).

The USA will benefit from the technical and marketing expertise of the 2007 World Champions. During a meeting in Zagreb, Croatia, the two sides agreed:

1)    The HBL will provide technical assistance and direction in the areas of player, coach and referee development, including personnel exchanges, instruction courses and grass roots clinics
2)    Ralf Uhding, member of the HBL Board of Directors, will take a seat on the USA Team Handball National Board of Directors for the next four years
3)    HBL and USA Team Handball will collaborate to broadcast German handball matches on U.S. television for the first time ever
4)    HBL will provide a pair of A-licensed referees to officiate key matches – and conduct an advanced course in refereeing – at events like the USA Club National Championships in Elgin, Illinois from May 8-10, 2009
5)    HBL clubs will train in the United States in preseason and participate in demonstration matches in major U.S. cities and broadcast on television in the USA and Germany
6)   To launch S.C. America – a global Supporter’s Club comprised of handball fans around the world interested in seeing the USA grow to become one of the most important handball nations

“Germany has long been considered one of the strongest nations in the world for the development of handball on the court and from a commercial perspective,” said Dieter Esch, president of the Board of Directors of USA Team Handball.  “Our federations have a mutual interest to see the sport grow in America in anticipation of the next two summer Olympic Games. The establishment of this strategic partnership in the long-term is a great step forward for the USA Team Handball. The Toyota Handball Bundesliga is recognized as the best in the world.”

Chicago will likely be one of the hub of activity for the partnership – given its candidacy for the 2016 Olympic Games and the city’s sizable population of German descendants. Actions discussed include appearances by German National Teams and/or clubs in competitions and instructional courses and clinics.

“We are excited about the commitment from the Bundesliga to work with USA Team Handball,” said Steve Pastorino, general manager of USA Team Handball. “We intend to make household names out of clubs like THW Kiel, HSV Hamburg and Fuchse Berlin, plus expose Americans to some of the most exciting athletes in the world such as Pascal Hens.”

Frank Bohmann, the CEO of the Handball-Bundesliga said, “We want enhance the actual positive development of the Handball sports in the USA. The USA belongs to the most strategic foreign markets with high potential. Here we can systematically improve the middle and long-term profile of our sport and of the Handball-Bundesliga. With this agreement, we are laying the foundation for the market of tomorrow.”

Ralf Uhding, director of the Handball-Bundesliga and former Bundesliga athlete, will be a day-to-day liaison between the National Governing Body and HBL as USATH’s newest Board of Directors member.

“Handball possesses all the qualities that excite Americans,” Uhding said. “That applies equally to both the playing field and the grandstand, from small gyms to larger arenas. Now we must get the awareness of the sport into every corner. That’s the reason for locking arms across the transatlantic.”

For more information, visit or call (801) 463-2000.

About USA Team Handball (USATH)
USA Team Handball, a 501-c-3 corporation headquartered in Salt Lake City, was certified by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) on April 30, 2008. The federation’s board of directors is chaired by President Dieter Esch. Its jurisdiction includes development of grass roots programs, preparation of national teams and day-to-day oversight of the sport of Team Handball throughout the United States. Visit the federation at

About Toyota Handball Bundesliga (HBL)
Founded in 1965, the HBL consists of the top 54 clubs in the First and Second divisions. Many of its top players comprise the German National Team, which won the 2007 IHF World Championships. The current champion is THW Kiel. Signature events include the 34-game league, the Final Four and the Inauguration Match of the season.

About Handball
Handball is played in 159 nations, by 1,100,000 teams and 39 million individuals, according to the International Handball Federation.  One of the most popular sports in Europe and Asia, the 2007 World Championships were the 7th-most watched live sporting event on the planet. The 2008 Olympic Games’ gold medalists were France (men) and Norway (women).

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