Jarkko Konttinen is Vice President, Global Marketing Communications for Finnair, title sponsor of the Finnair Masters at Helsinki Golf Club since 2006. Here he discusses the airline’s involvement with women’s professional golf.
How does the Finnair Masters fit into your company’s overall communications campaign?
It’s an international event so there is a lot of international coverage for Finnair with the help of being a title sponsor. We are very proud of being the title sponsor as Helsinki is getting all the media coverage currently. Helsinki is very important for us as it is our home base as well as our home hub in Europe and Asia. We are serving all of our connections via Helsinki and that’s why we are delighted to have the media attention to Helsinki as the location as well.
What was the reasoning behind inviting four players from Singapore to compete in the Finnair Masters?
We invited four Singaporean players and the reason for the Singaporean players was because we opened a connection from Singapore to Helsinki one month ago. Singapore is in or special interest and one of the 10 Asian destinations that we have. Because we launched this route just one month ago it was natural for us to invite the players from Singapore to participate on the Ladies European Tour in Helsinki.
How did you select the players?
We used our local forces. They are very interesting players and we hope that they will perform well in the competition. We also have two players from Japan and a few years back one of our sponsor invitations from South Korea ended up being the best amateur on the list and that was a fantastic thing for us, to have the sponsor invitation ranking that high. This year we have three flights a day to the major cities in Japan: Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
What are the most appealing facets of being involved in golf sponsorship?
In terms of golf as a sport, among our key customers golf is one of the most popular personal sports and also golf is followed by our key customers. We do raise our potential customers very efficiently through golf events and that’s why we are part of the Ladies European Tour with this competition.
How did you rate playing in the Pro Am?
The Pro Am today was excellent. The weather is great and now that the Finnair Masters is held at the end of June, the sun doesn’t set that much during the night. It goes down at 11pm and rises at 4am and even in between its very bright outside. This time of the year is excellent and it was great to have the Pro Am today with the sunny weather. We did invite a lot of our corporate clients from our sales units outside Finland to participate. We did have four teams from Japan, one from Singapore, one from Denmark and Finnair teams from Finland as well to participate in the Pro Am so it was a lot of fun. I played with Lee-Anne Pace and she is in very good condition. She was the winner last year and she’s in good condition so I will keep an eye on her and of course the Finnish players Minea Blomqvist and Ursula Wikstrom because I think they played well today as well.
Do you sponsor any of the players?
We do have a co-operation with Minea Blomqvist, Kaisa Ruuttila and Ursula Wikstrom of the Finnish players. They fly a lot so it’s very natural that we have a co-operation with them.
What special promotions do you have around this tournament?
We have this Pro Am for our key clients and also a special promotion is that we have our own premises next to hole-18 and we expect to have 1000 visitors from our key clients during the tournament. We are hosting them in our own VIP tent.