The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be the single biggest challenge for all sports, from the grassroots to the professional leagues; globally.
Grassroots sport plays a vital role in promoting positive social, emotional, cultural, and economic results and this forced pause on sport has undoubtedly affected the lives of individuals, families and communities at large.
However, there are some who kept the sporting action going, despite the pandemic. One such example comes from Trondheim, Norway. Instead of letting the pandemic get them down, a group of J14 [under 14] handballers, made up of 14 clubs and 17 teams, took part in the CovidCup.
The CovidCup is an idea that came from Trond Viggo Pedersen and Frode Kristiansen.
After a training match in March 2021, the two managers from Trygg / Lade and Utleira, put their heads together to come up with ways to still keep playing handball, during the pandemic. The two contacted other managers and the outcome was a training tournament, CovidCup, focused on these principles: development, fair play and the joy of sports.
“We decided early on that all matches should be streamed to get an audience, and with Joymo, not only did we get this but also income that we could use going forward”Fellow team manager, Thomas Gravdahl.
The requirements for the CovidCup were that all J14 teams in Trondheim Municipality could participate for free, as long as they made sure that the CovidCup could be a community building initiative for the handball community in the region.
The tournament was set up as training matches, divided up into a system of group matches and a final All Star game. The games were streamed safely and securely on Joymo.
Frode Kristiansen added; “because goal difference did not matter, players were also encouraged to practice what they are not necessarily best at.”
As a way to manage expenses and use time effectively, the decision was made to have all the matches played during the teams' own training times, in their halls.
Roles and responsibilities such as referee coordination, awarding, sponsor search, social media, streaming and tallying results were divided up between everyone who participated. “We could keep costs down and provide free entry for the teams since income from streaming and sponsors offset the costs”, says coach Thomas Gravdahl.
In all matches, normal points were awarded for a draw and a win. Goal difference, on the other hand, had no significance. 2 extra points were awarded if at least 70% of the players in the squad, including the goalkeepers, scored goals in the match.
The tournament was a resounding success, with almost 300 tournament passes and single tickets sold at NOK 299/£25/€29/$34 each. “With such a large number of viewers, we know that this has been important, and contributed to driving more interest in handball” adds Gravdahl.
"So many thanks to Joymo for having this fantastic streaming offer and giving all our families and interested parties an opportunity to enjoy great entertainment and CovidCup."