Norway’s national women’s handball team has a special place in the hearts of Norwegian sports fans. Fully 1.2 million of them, nearly a quarter of the country’s entire population, tuned in to watch the so-called “handball girls” in another World Championship final on Sunday that turned into an unexpected thriller.
The team faced off against France and were favoured to win once again, but by half-time they were down by four points with France leading 16-12. In the thrilling second-half, the Norwegians managed to turn that around and ended up winning 29-22, with the commercial station broadcasting the match, TV3, mighty pleased when it was all over, too.
“This is tremendously strong,” Kristian Oma, sports chief of Nent Group Norge that runs TV3, told news bureau NTB. “Even though we’re all used to how popular they are, we can never cease to be impressed by the enormous appeal håndballjentene (literally, the handball girls) have with the Norwegian people.”
The World Championship final turned out to be the next-most-watched TV program on any commercial channel in 2021, beaten only by the semi-final match between Denmark and England in the European football championships.