Helsinki Olympic Stadion. Photo: Paavo Jantunen

UEFA Super Cup once again shows Helsinki’s strengths as major event organiser

The City of Helsinki was at the centre of international attention last week when the UEFA Super Cup was played at Helsinki Olympic Stadium. UEFA Super Cup is a football match contested by the winners of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, this year Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt. It was the first European club football competition final ever played in Finland. In the end, Real Madrid won the Super Cup 2–0.

The UEFA Super Cup is the largest official UEFA match that could be hosted by Helsinki and the renovated Helsinki Olympic Stadium. Millions of viewers all over the world watched the UEFA Super Cup final, which was televised in 110 different countries. Approximately 32,000 spectators enjoyed the match live at the Olympic Stadium.

Visitors to such major events also bring income to the city’s business life: they often spend money at the host city hotels, restaurants and other services for several days before and after the event. For example, the UEFA Super Cup attracted some 13,000 international football fans to Helsinki, more than half of them from Germany. The Fan Festival area at Kansalaistori Square was visited by more than 30,000 football fans during the two-day event.

Helsinki Olympic Stadium, recently renovated to cater to modern needs, is an important asset when Helsinki seeks to host major events. When selecting host cities, Helsinki’s trump cards also include its functionality, safety and greenery.

“Major events add to the city’s international reputation and build the city brand comprehensively. They also provide work for an extensive network of event organisers and service providers. This is particularly important after the COVID-19 pandemic. Successful major events help revive the city and create an optimistic outlook both for residents, event visitors and companies operating in the event and service sector. At the same time, events play a major role in creating appeal and positive reputation for Helsinki and the entire Helsinki Metropolitan Area,” says Sanna Forsström, Head of Brand at the City of Helsinki.

Helsinki wants to be a reliable event partner

Helsinki city strategy states that events have an important role in making Helsinki an enjoyable and dynamic city. Helsinki is looking to improve its international competitive edge as a host city for cultural, sports and other major events in cooperation with operators in the sector.

“We want to be a reliable partner for event organisers. We succeeded beautifully in organising this match event together with the Football Association of Finland, various authorities and companies. All match practicalities worked without a hitch and there were no negative side effects. We once again proved that Helsinki is capable of pulling off major sporting events in smooth cooperation,” Sanna Forsström says.

The City of Helsinki organised for the event official permits and area reservations, practice fields, fan meeting points and parades to the stadium. The city also organised the UEFA Trophy Tour, where the trophies were presented to city residents at summertime junior football tournaments, City Hall and the Fan Festival at the Kansalaistori Square. The City of Helsinki also participated in marketing the event and produced street signs.

“The Football Association of Finland is very happy with the UEFA Super Cup event. Organising such a successful match event and its international effectiveness will also be important when host cities will be selected for future major events. The Super Cup once again proved that Helsinki has top-notch professional skills in the production and planning of large-scale events. Our cooperation with the city was seamless and the UEFA also commended the arrangements,” says Kalle Marttinen, Project Manager at the Football Association of Finland.

The City of Helsinki and the Football Association of Finland are looking to further develop their events and an impact study will therefore be conducted on the UEFA Super Cup 2022 event. The study will cover participation in the event and experiences of Helsinki during the event. It will be conducted by JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Sport Business by JAMK. The study will be completed during September.