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Jussi Huotari, one of the founders of Nimenhuuto, aims to help amateur sports clubs gain sponsorship.Innovative plan aims to aid amateur sports clubs.

A NEW way of obtaining sponsorship funds became available for Finnish amateur sports clubs late last year. The service is provided by a website called Nimenhuuto, a free website that has been available for amateur athletes for the past five years.

One of the founders of Nimenhuuto, Jussi Huotari, says it was just a coincidence that the new service was launched during the holiday season. They have now implemented an idea they took from a British rugby site.

The new kind of sponsorship combines the benefit of three parties: a store, a team and a service provider.

The basic idea is simple. The members or supporters of a team or club can purchase products from the team’s sponsor site, and a percentage agreed with the online store of the product price without VAT is paid to Nimenhuuto. Nimenhuuto will collect its fee and pay the rest of the funds to the teams.

Huotari says that there are currently around forty companies offering their products in the online service.

Nimenhuuto five years

• Nimenhuuto.com is an enrolment, calendar and statistics service for teams and clubs.

• There are more than 200,000 visitors to the Nimenhuuto.com website each week.

• The number of users has doubled over the past few years.

• The five most common sports are soccer, floorball, ice hockey, basketball and volleyball. There are also some registered marathon schools and dog agility teams.

• The website is maintained by Sports Connected, a company established by brothers Jussi and Olli Huotari. They established the website when their amateur basketball team EBT of Espoo enrolled in the official basketball league. The website was launched publicly five years ago.

• The second-largest Finnish enrolling system is Osallistujat.com. According to its message to potential advertisers, Osallistujat reaches around 30,000 visitors each week.

www.nimenhuuto.com, www.osallistujat.com

First sponsorship started

The Nimenhuuto site has a little over 200,000 users. Hundreds of teams are using the sponsorship site, and Huotari says that the “magical” threshold of a thousand teams is not that far away.

“The majority of the teams are children’s teams. Fund-raising is very common among youth teams and this is just another channel through which it can be achieved. The families and friends of the young athletes visit the site.”

The discounts offered by the stores vary a great deal.

“Stores selling clothing offer large discounts, but the discounts for electronics and appliances are smaller.”

The discount percentages or clicking fees shown on the sponsorship site are not paid to the team as such. The discount percentage is calculated from the product price without value added tax. The store pays the sum to Nimenhuuto, and Nimenhuuto takes its own share.

“Our commission is 10-50 per cent. We must take a larger commission for a large number of small purchases to avoid additional expenses.”

Nimenhuuto determines its commission itself and allocates the remaining share to the teams.

The teams can monitor their purchase accrual online. The accrual is updated every night.

The first team reached its sponsorship threshold of 100 euro on the 10 January, and Huotari will contact the team soon. When the threshold is reached, the team can choose to take the money or continue collecting more funds.

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HEIKKI METSÄMÄKI – STT
TARU LAIHO – HT
LEHTIKUVA / JARNO MELA

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