Zug, Switzerland – When the 2017/18 season of the Champions Hockey League (CHL) faces off with nine games tomorrow, 24 August, it will be followed by fans in 53 territories and supported by a contingent of nine sponsor brands. Infront Sports & Media, a Wanda Sports company, is the exclusive media and marketing partner of the pan-European club ice hockey competition, handling media rights sales, marketing of the event and commercial packages, overall venue management, digital strategy and management of the TV production from one single source.
Infront has sold media rights for the competition to 22 broadcasters and digital platforms worldwide, covering a total of 53 territories. New broadcast agreements for the 2017/18 season have been secured with ORF in Austria and Europsport in Poland. CHL coverage in Sweden will be bolstered with Viasat coming on board and sharing the rights with SVT, providing great exposure for the competition in a strong ice hockey market. Other broadcasters include SPORT1 in Germany, Teleclub and SRG in Switzerland and MTV3 in Finland. Please find the full list of the broadcast partners.
On the sponsorship side, Infront secured strong international brands for the upcoming 2017/18 season. The line-up is led by engelbert strauss as Official Presenting Sponsor. In addition, three Official Sponsors – Danfoss, NordicBet and Tissot – and six Official Partners will benefit from a comprehensive rights package, receiving global coverage alongside diverse activation and promotional opportunities.
To enhance digital presence, OMNIGON, an Infront group company, worked closely with the CHL in the design and development of their new responsive website (www.championshockeyleague.com) and iOS and Android apps. These new digital properties were built utilising OMNIGON’s proprietary Corebine platform, a content delivery platform focused on capturing and engaging audiences through the delivery of content for mobile websites and native mobile applications. Features include dedicated team pages with complete schedule information, robust team and player statistics, and historical information, latest news and video hubs and league schedule and standings. The site also includes a dedicated fan-zone featuring a fan ambassador for each club and a hub for fans to make their predictions on who they think will win each game.
From this season onwards, a new qualification entry system has been introduced. This means that 32 professionally ranked teams will take part, all selected purely on the basis of sporting merit. Sweden’s Frölunda Indians and British club Nottingham Panthers automatically qualified as the winners of the 2016/17 CHL and Continental Cup respectively.
The 2017/18 Group Stage begins on 24 August and finishes on 11 October. The teams are divided into eight groups of four. The two first-placed teams in each group advance to the playoffs, which will start on 31 October. In total, 125 games will be played until the European trophy is awarded at the final on 6 February 2018.
The league is fully owned and operated by the Champions Hockey League AG/Ltd which includes, as its shareholders, 26 Founding Clubs, six national Founding Leagues and the International Ice Hockey Federation. The Founding National Leagues are: Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The best teams from the Challenge Leagues (Belarus, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Norway, Poland and Slovakia) are extended Wild Cards. The 2017/18 season will open 24 August 2017 with 32 teams from 13 leagues.
Infront Sports & Media, a Wanda Sports company, is one of the most respected sports marketing companies in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production, event operation and digital solutions – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football, summer and endurance sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with close to 170 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 900 experienced staff working from over 35 offices across more than 15 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of top class sport around the world every year. In November 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Group, part of the Chinese conglomerate the Dalian Wanda Group.
OMNIGON, an Infront Sports & Media group company, is a team of digital strategists, artists and technologists working exclusively in the areas of consumer loyalty, audience growth and digital content delivery. Since its founding in 2008, OMNIGON has established itself as a market leader, focused on helping clients achieve returns on the strategic, creative and technical investments they've made. OMNIGON, headquartered in New York and with offices in Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Kiev and St. Petersburg, works with celebrated, global brands including Fox Broadcasting, Verizon, the PGA TOUR, CONCACAF, the United States Golf Association (USGA), FC Bayern Munich, AS Roma, the German Football Association (DFB), IRONMAN, NASCAR, World Rugby, and countless others.
Wanda Sports is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Led by President & Vice Chairman Philippe Blatter, Wanda Sports incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.