Go directly to content

Taustamarkkinat BGMT (Awesome Crowd) is an almost 40-year-old family business I took responsibility for about seven years ago. Over the decades, services like soundscapes for events and shopping centres have evolved into digital experiences using artificial intelligence, interactive content, and VR. Our services are well-suited to various events and scale up to arena-level needs.

From experience, I know that internationalisation requires a lot. It requires the right people and the right skills. It also requires the willingness and ability to face complex issues for which there is no immediate answer; solutions and help must be found as situations arise.

That's why it didn't take much thought when I was given the opportunity to join the Sport Finland network to establish business relationships in Bilbao and Madrid. The timing was perfect for our business renewal. I had the chance to pitch our expertise and new services to genuinely large entities at just the right moment. For example, we have developed an AI character suitable as a sports club mascot that interacts with children in real-time and a game wall that serves as a game floor, where a person becomes one of the players.

Sari Hallikainen pitching 2

My journey began in Bilbao, where I got to test my pitching prowess at Athletic Club and Bilbao Basket. I believe we will continue discussions with at least Bilbao Basket. It was unique in Bilbao to experience how the entire identity of the Basque Country seems to be built around sports clubs. The flagship, Athletic Club, is not just a football club but a significant regional employer and social influencer.

However, the highlight of my trip was the visit to LALIGA's headquarters in Madrid. I spoke to LALIGA representatives about the future fanbase. Generation Z youths no longer attend events but prefer watching games remotely. Attracting viewers to game events over the next 20 years will be a considerable challenge. The work must start now. Our services are positioned between the gates and the seats at the stadium: we offer experiences that attract visitors, especially this age group, to attend events.

I have met with large sports organisations before. In the United States, I have pitched to the NHL and NBA. Establishing communication with organisations of this calibre takes work for a small company. Therefore, I highly appreciate Sport Finland's people's work in opening doors for our companies in advance. The trip to Bilbao and Madrid was incredibly successful. The entirety was carefully planned and executed. I would definitely go again if the opportunity arose.

Sari Hallikainen pitching
There was an excellent spirit within the group. Entrepreneurs encouraged each other, listened to each other's pitches, and considered what we could improve. During the trip, it became very clear why we must work closely together as a small country and small companies. If we genuinely want to internationalise and bring Finland to the world in a versatile way, it requires genuine cooperation, not just talk.

These trips can be unreservedly recommended to companies that dare to make the most of them. When the trip is so well planned, and everything is covered, the least you can do is bring an attitude and the courage to talk, ask questions, network, and make new contacts. It works when you genuinely believe in what you do and in your product.

Sari Hallikainen 
Taustamarkkinat BGMT
Awesome Crowd

Sport Suomi logokoonti  (1)

The business delegation trip to Bilbao and Madrid was organised on April 22–26, 2024, as part of the Optimal Performance value network work operated by Jyväskylä Business Development Services. The companies participating in the trip were eWatt, Awesome Crowd, Neuwo, SAHA Training, Pro Recovery, Ketoinen, Northern Sports Insight and Intelligence (ACT Head Impact Tracker), Wello2, and ONIT Sport. The Madrid portion of the trip was organised by The Sport Finland Network. The network is based on a joint project led by the cities of Jyväskylä, Lahti, and Kuopio, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, and implemented between April 1, 2023, and December 31, 2024.