In the stands of the World Cup ground in Tampere, a special crowd of 800 people draws attention.
It’s about 2:30 p.m. on a Monday, when the line of several buses turns into a parking lot at the edge of Tampere’s Tullikamarinoukio.
If you don’t know the place, you can easily imagine that we are now in front of the port terminal for the Tallinn cruise.
Hundreds of adults go out into the street from cars in a relaxed and even cheerful mood. This group mainly consists of such people.
There is a huge pile of cardboard boxes on the embankment, all of which are handed plastic-wrapped lion shirts from the Finnish ice hockey team. It says Oninen on the back – even though none of the Oninen play in Legion…
Fittingly, the restaurant’s terrace is right next door, and there too the first pints are already half empty in lovely summer weather.
– I bet it’s a lot of fun here, one tells his friends after just getting his jersey.
Get up, get up The doors of the exhibition hall will open only after a quarter of an hour.
We’re here to find out who are the most talked about “fans” of the World Hockey Championship.
We are at the source of the whole phenomenon. This is where World Championships day in Tampere begins for these corporate guests who take over the Nokia Arena for the evening.
So this is the trade fair of Onin Oy, which is engaged in wholesale trade in HVAC and electrical industry. The 110 year old company is now owned by Kesco.
Even this trade fair event held in Pakkahuon is not much discussed by the Finnish puck crowd, but at Nokia Arena, about half a kilometer away, this fair crowd grabs attention and even creates some sort of excitement. .
Marty Force, CEO of Oninene, happily arrived for the interview. And what’s wrong with her smiling.
The company had organized a similar event in connection with last year’s World Cup and it was a hit among customers in its category.
– On the sixth day of Finland’s first World Cup game, we have a trade fair here. There are about 600 customers a day, and on top of that there are also suppliers. At the end of the day of the fair, everyone attends the game of lions. There we have 800 guests per match, says Fors.
On the first three days, the fair focuses on the electrical sector, on the last three towards HVAC. There are about 60 exhibitors every day.
– We bring our good customers to Lapland from all over Finland. Everyone pays for this too. The package also includes transportation and hotels, of course depending on where in Finland you are arriving from. But the price is same for all.
Force doesn’t want to talk about the exact amount, but it is clear that it is an investment in lakhs.
Of course, the cost of things is always relative. Oninen’s previous published 2021 fiscal year turnover was 1.1 billion and operating profit was 88 million euros.
– This is a common interest with suppliers and customers. We alone are not fully paying for it. But everyone knows what those tickets to the Games cost, for example.
– Of course, we will try to offer additional inducements to bring customers there. We have products, programs, presentations and then this side program, says Force.
So the side program is the Lions’ World Cup match.
The company has reserved an entire curve of the lower grandstand of the Nokia Arena for its use. Each of the first six matches in Finland has 800 seats for their guests. For the same seat, a ticket for, for example, a match between Finland and France on Wednesday costs 170 euros. At this price, the price tag for six sports would be a cool 800,000 euros.
Behind these stands, the company has its own restaurant area to entertain its guests.
Everyone watching the World Cup in the Arena is forced to notice this group: 800 people wearing the same shirt roll next to them
– We dress our customers. It’s part of the package. First off, I think it’s a great thing that the finish colors are on display in the stand.
– This is not an order. Isn’t that part of fan culture? When asked if all guests are ordered to wear the company’s legionnaires, he replies.
The company’s guests have drawn much flak and criticism, even from the hockey crowd. Especially when the atmosphere of the Lions match has not changed. In this case, the atmosphere can be blamed on the game’s most visible group of corporate guests, who are not the least active in actually cheering on the hockey national team.
– But I believe that our customers make up a pretty good cross-section of typical Finns. For example, one guest said he saw 25 league games this season, another has never seen hockey in his life, Force says.
Now, who would dare to throw themselves around or at least make a fool of themselves in the company’s representative program.
However, among the company’s guests in the stands, there are also fair publicity workers, young women who jump during the game to dance and lighten the atmosphere.
At least the atmosphere at the Pakkahone Bijlee Mela is not strict. Servings has clearly focused more on the drinks side.
Serving tables here and there offer at least beer, tent and wine. Furthermore, it seems that there is some sort of temptation available for large amounts of food.
Not everyone seems to be in a festive mood. For some, this is purely a business trip.
Working day tomorrow. I’ll drive home in the evening, but you have to come to the game, a one-time ticket is included in the reasonable price, says the owner of an electricity company from Yuvskilla.
So who gets here?
– Isn’t it a bit to see how much is the annual purchase of onine. If you can buy a can there for a thousand euros a year, you probably don’t need to wait for an invitation, and Tarmo, who also owns an electrical company, is having fun at a vertical table next to the can of the tent. doing.
He says he paid 150 euros for a ticket to the fair.
– This is the cost price. But just a ticket to the game would have been more. And the food is good here, Tarmo says.
– You’d think the group would get a little momentum here, six hours before the game, when Marco, the hunchbacked electrician next to us, laughs.
– But tomorrow is a working day again, you can’t do the impossible here, he continues.
Tarmo and Marko, who have settled in the familiar Lions shirt, say the wearing of the shirt was “only recommended”, not prescribed.
As the evening’s match against Sweden begins, a group of hundreds of fair guests leave Pakkahune. In some places, the step is already a little light on the half-kilometer journey across the field of the World Championship.
Along the way, at every turn, a company employee waved “lollipops” with the company’s logo, pointing customers in the right direction.
And again all 800 seats in the auditorium are full, and the evening’s side program can begin.
At the start of the World Cup, Oninen’s lion jersey has also been the most visible accessory in Tampere’s street scene after Lions’ matches.
The program of the fair ends with a lion match in the evening. After that, the lucky ones are dispersed throughout the city, and some may take off their jerseys.
At least one visible advertising campaign.