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This report is a result of collaborative work between Business Finland funded Innovation Booster - Match Maker of Challengers and Disruptors and European Regional Development funded MINT (Etelä-Karjalan pienten kuntien innovaatio- ja kokeiluekosysteemin kehittäminen) project. The goal of the report is to discuss from event visitor point of view about different expectations, inspiring moments and future possibilities of transforming traditional events to esports and /or virtual event context, possibly in connection with traditional physical event.
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Ari Happonen, Erno Salmela and Marika Hirvimäki
ISBN 978-952-335-670-2
ISBN 978-952-335-671-9 (PDF)
ISSN-L 2243-3376
ISSN 2243-3376
Lappeenranta 2021
LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications
LUT School of Engineering Science
LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications
Tutkimusraportit – Research Reports
Tutkimusraportit Research Reports
05 / 2021
LUT University
Authored by:
Ari Happonen, Erno Salmela, Marika Hirvimäki
Hand to Mouth Marketing,
Event Visibility and
Resource Limited Event
Generation Experiences:
Virtual esport Imatranajo
competition 2020
This report is a result of collaborative work between Business Finland funded Innovation
Booster - Match Maker of Challengers and Disruptors and European Regional
Development funded MINT (Etelä-Karjalan pienten kuntien innovaatio- ja
kokeiluekosysteemin kehittäminen) project. The goal of the report is to discuss from
event visitor point of view about different expectations, inspiring moments and future
possibilities of transforming traditional events to esports and /or virtual event context,
possibly in connection with traditional physical event.
Special thanks for Business Finland for providing the possibility to do long term
knowledge building in context of events and Innovation Boosting studies. The
background the project has given, has provided the sturdy base MINT project shall need
to go forward flawlessly.
Keywords: Virtual event, esports, marketing, visibility, social media, digitalization,
motorbikes, focus group, hybrid event,
"Take one for the team, but remember a win is a win"
LappeenrantaLahti University of Technology LUT
LUT School of Engineering Science
LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications
Research Reports series report 124
Ari Happonen, Erno Salmela and Marika Hirvimäki
Hand to Mouth Marketing, Event Visibility and Resource
Limited Event Generation Experiences: Virtual esport
Imatranajo competition 2020
LUT University
LUT School of Engineering Science
PL 20
53851 Lappeenranta
ISBN printed publication: 978-952-335-670-2
ISBN electronic publication: 978-952-335-671-9
ISSN-L 2243-3376, ISSN 2243-3376
Lappeenranta 2021
1. Introduction ...................................................................................................... 6
2. Internet visibility and pre-event social media findings ....................................... 7
2.1 Event data / information visibility in Internet ................................................ 7
2.2 Event specific mobile application ................................................................. 10
2.3 Overall view for event promoting ................................................................ 10
2.3 Overall view to the process of forming of the event ..................................... 14
2.4 Experiences and learnings from event marketing point of view ................... 15
3. Event time views, findings and audience impressions ...................................... 17
3.1. Arriving into the event area .................................................................... 22
3.2. The opening experience in the event ...................................................... 23
3.3. Daytime event experience and participant view ..................................... 25
3.4. Afternoon and closing time .................................................................... 27
3.5. Young participant and moms experience from the event ........................ 29
4. After the event social media findings............................................................... 31
5. Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 33
Figure 1: Pre-event socil media promoting information for the event ...................... 8
Figure 2: Event promotion material ......................................................................... 9
Figure 3: Local news about the 2020 event ............................................................ 12
Figure 4: Yle news before the event, published on 3.7.2020 .................................. 13
Figure 5: Arriving to the Imatranajo event ............................................................. 17
Figure 6: Emptines in partking lots, in near by shopping centers ............................ 18
Figure 7: Motorists with motor cycles not to be seen anywhere, neat the event? . 18
Figure 8: Near by imatrankosken tori .................................................................... 19
Figure 9: Limited street view to the event area ...................................................... 20
Figure 10: Huge convey of motorcycles arriving to the event area ......................... 20
Figure 11: Bikes parked to the road side, giving away the event location .............. 21
Figure 12: Event area map from 2 days before the event ....................................... 22
Figure 13: Event around midday, in summer 2020 ................................................. 23
Figure 14: Convey of motorbikes arriving to event area ......................................... 24
Figure 15: Getting ready to park the event promoting bike convey ....................... 25
Figure 16: Grown at the event area, in the daytime ............................................... 26
Figure 17: Start of the afternoon offers more open spaces in event area ............... 27
Figure 18: news about the results from the event, relate to the final results ......... 31
Figure 19: Social media comments, after the event ............................................... 32
This report continues series of field study reports (Happonen and Santti, 2018;
Happonen ad Minashkina, 2018a; Happonen and Santti, 2019; Minashkina and
Happonen 2019) done by team of LUT researchers in context of university - industry
collaboration innovation studies (Happonen and Minashkina, 2018b; Happonen and
Minashkina, 2019a; Happonen et al., 2020ab; Minashkina and Happonen, 2018;
Minashkina and Happonen, 2020) and field study reports in events and historic
location development activities and series of citizen participation actions.
This particular report is partitioned to look the 2020 Virtual Imatranajo event from
multiple different time point views. First a pre-physical event (01.08.2020) time of
qualification virtual races and public available material in social media and Internet
web-sites is reviewed. Pre-event time analysis is followed by physical final event field
study views, including the field case studies by a researcher, participant view from
parent point of view and a participating under age persons experience from the event.
Finally, the report takes a look into social media and Internet materials that follow the
final event itself plus a full event views from the organizers point of view. The idea of
multiple time points was to widen the scope and to offer future event participants, e.g.
local SME sized companies new ideas how they could be visible in events like these,
specially as in time of writing this report, covid-19 and social distancing does not allow
us to organize us events like in doors exhibitions (Minashkina and Happonen, 2019b).
The report is made to contain various ideas, spectator opinions and options for future
development. Considering the possibility to draw previous years experiences on
Imatranajo 2018 and 2019, few points are also made related to the possibility to co-
lived physical and esports like Imatranajo in future years to come. Additionally, the
report is written to take into account Covid-19 and how it might affect all following
similar events in un foreseen near future e.g. what is acceptable in social distancing
and or physicality of activities organized inside the events and so on.
Before the actual 1st of august, baseline visibility in Internet and social media channels
was reviewed to see, how easy it would be to general public to get knowledgeable
about this sort event possibility. For starters, people who were told that this would be
an esports (Happonen and Minashkina, 2019b) version of legendary Imatranajo, they
would have ended in problems, when trying to look for the event with keyword like
“esports Imatranajo”. If the event name was given in form of "virtuaalinen imatranajo"
tables would turn and person would be shown with wide set of results from different
internet search services. In short, for possible future years of this sort of virtual/esports
version of previously physical competition/event, it is probably highly beneficial for
event organizers to consider different focus groups. With the focus groups in mind,
test a bit what sort of keywords these people might be naturally guided to use, to look
any typical information they would need to know about the event. For example, ask
them to consider finding parking, arrival route, activities time table, social media
channel places and so on. Using proper keyword set, based on previous test-based
learnings, should make it possible to deliver the event information for a wider audience
and vice versa wider audience will easily find the event and promote it to their friends.
Also, as event organizer, ask opinions of your event visibility from people out of your
own social / professional circle. Collaboration in shared project, with different social,
economical and professional circles can bring up completely new sort of views
(Happonen et al., 2015) into the discussions table. Also, considering the organization
cultures of different collaborative partners, can be key aspect to successfully develop
the event further (Santti et al., 2017; Happonen et al., 2020b), in addition of agreeing
on fair gain and pain sharing models (Happonen and Siljander, 2020).
2.1 Event data / information visibility in Internet
Looking for the event from possible interested spectator point of view, who had just
got a note, there is something like this (
on%20to%20be%20crowned%20on%20saturday%201.8..html and ) available and
he/she would be looking a simple collection of all basic details on location, time table
and content following is a good example for easy to comprehend and fast to digest set
of knowledge available before the event.
Figure 1: Pre-event socil media promoting information for the event
Figure 2: Event promotion material
From international visitor point of view, it would have been beneficial to have short
translations of the Finnish language news in English earlier than few weeks before the
event. All this, to give nonnative Finnish speakers general overview on what would be
happening 1.8.2020 in Imatra main marketplace area, even if the case would be that
the event itself should be facilitated using just Finnish language.
From middle aged audience point of view, Facebook was seen as a good channel to get
knowledgeable of the event, especially if one would have had already following
Trailblazers (Imatranajo 2020 event partner organizer) Facebook webpages. On
another hand, it was acknowledged by the older audience and supported by resent
research (Jung et al., 2017; Gil-Clavel and Zagheni, 2019) that Facebook has started to
be “boomers” social media hangout place, so the younger audience might have been
sort of shorthanded in receiving and/or finding the event information.
2.2 Event specific mobile application
For previous years, Imatranajo has had its own mobile phone application, for race
related news, time table, results and so on delivery, directly to event participants
phone. From the outsider’s point of view, it might have been a bit confusing around a
week before the event, when website was still promoting
the application, when it was not actually available or provided for 2020. The
application was actually removed from the web-site, before the actual event so in
event day itself, if the people visited the web-site in the morning time, they would not
have seen the application promotion anymore and as such would be focusing on up to
date information. As a point for future similar event generation based on traditional
physical events, it would make a sense to take a set of outsiders to review the material
and information provided to look for that they stumble on within information retrieval
phase and use their findings to fine tune the information offering. And with finetuning,
it is suggested to look options in two or three phased time cycles. In case of three, one
done multiple weeks before the event, second e.g. a week or so before and last one
just few days before. First one is there to catch up the obvious, second one is for
material development with ok time buffer and last one is to map minor things that
insiders might lost a track of as they are not able to see the material from outsiders’
point of view.
2.3 Overall view for event promoting
Considering the focus group, overall view was that what evet the channel / channels
the main point is that all publicly available information is constantly get up to date, it
reflects the same overall view about the event and information cross connects
different channels promoting the event to make it easier for different age groups to
share the info for their peers and family members.
From participant and event experienced people’s point of view, the comment was that
if this event will continue to be part of future years Imatranajo physical motor bike
racing event, information should also be part of mobile application build for the event.
Given the previous years’ experience, from the physical event organized in wider
physical area too, the event connected application improves the total experience
received from the event highly. Participant is kept well educated what is going on and
smaller details like where to find food and services is right there, in the application, in
easily accessible places. The nowadays defacto assumption to have GPS location
information, even with some of its limitations (Lehtinen et al., 2008; Jahkola et al.,
2017), should be really considered in these applications to pin point different special
locations for the audience, informed for them trough the application. For example, if
there is a special event happening in 30, 15, 10, 5 minutes walking distance away from
the persons current location, they should be given a notice through the application 10-
15 minutes before that point. Also, for the convenience of audience, in race events the
results of different races are up to date and “in the pocketof the participant, plus
specific promotion of Point-of-Interets (POIs) are constantly updated if/when timing
might change a bit inside the actual event days. And finally given the reality that the
physical event Imatranajo has been collection over 10 000 people for multiple things
like public transportation timetables, parking places (bikes and cars) locations,
exceptions in city road usage (closed sections of roads because of bike racing) and so
on are given all inside the application.
Finally a look to local news, related to the pre-event promoting materials. The virtual
event actually gained considerable visibility in traditional media. Etelä-Saimaa, YLE,
Lappeenranta News and Uutisvuoksi covered the event. In addition, YLE conducted
two live radio interviews about the event. The event was also reported by the
motorsport media such as M-Bikes and Motouutiset.
Figure 3: Local news about the 2020 event
Figure 4: Yle news before the event, published on 3.7.2020
Considering all efforts on getting the event to show in local and social media news, the
authors collected views from participants and added their own experiences here to
reflect expected general reach of audience the organizers wanted to share the event
information for. For example, a mom of two was wondering did the virtual & physical
combined event in Imatra research people from nearby Lappeenranta city and
specially the younger generation. The virtual related part in the event name, might
have given people the general overview this is 100% virtual thing. The mom
commented that her boys did not see any of their friends from 1000 student school
and she only was able to spot 2 family friends in the whole event day. Generally
speaking, lot less than what you would probably expect. All in all, the person was
wondering that who was the actual focus group, as it was not clear for her, based on
the pre-event marketing material she did see and by the people she noticed to be
there, in the actual event.
2.3 Overall view to the process of forming of the event
From the event organizing point of view, the reality is that this special event had to be
organized in the pressure of covid-19 regulations and some social uncertainty “what
will happen next”. The time frame was short, compared to events in previous years
and the style of the event was new too. The base discussions were opened in May 2020
and full speed on building the event was ongoing in start of June 2020. Basically a 5 to
6 weeks lead time, before the virtual drives in Internet environment would be starting.
Short time tables can push best ideas out of people under results delivery stress
(Salmela et al., 2015), but many times, there is a huge risk that too much is asked for
and people break under the pressure. All in all, the original goal was to have 6 finalists
in physical event, based on separately driven track times in special track. This idea
changed fast to more race like multiplayer way to make decisions who shall get to the
final drives in Imatra central market area. To add a bit of complexity, the organizers
offered option to race the qualifications with either PlayStation or PC. To make the
qualifications more interesting for audience and to promote the event, the
qualifications were driven with 3 qualification series, both in PC and PlayStation game
environments. These races were also streamed with narrative commentators speaks
into Social media streaming services. The online streaming part was also not a
component of the original plan, so already before the practical event there was the
general event organizing “could we also do this and that” atmosphere.
This atmosphere did generate lot of new ideas, activities and implementations to the
actual event. To mention few: general play area for audience, competitions for the
audience, parade of motorcycles, live music, and partner & promotors stand. From
outsiders point of view, the event when from zero to hero under 10 seconds 😉. The
reality is that this sort of boom in content offering had to show somewhere and it really
did. The impact was huge jump in news and audience interest towards the event. It
was something new, something real in covid-19 time and still something traditional
(connected to Imatranajo). For future events like this, it is highly recommended can
this sort of wide audience offering be kept as part of the content offered for potential
interest groups as it was clearly seen a prerequisite for the news and social media
coverage, the event finally received. It is clear, that boosting content this much, will
mean more resources needed (in this case the need tripled), but it also means that the
event is a blast for the people who come there. As a hypothesis of the authors,
whenever the society opens again and the social distancing limitations go away, there
will be huge amount of competing events, to try to get the audience to come and spend
their money on this and not on that. This means huge boost in competing events and
if one wants to make and event, where people come and participate, it really needs to
differentiate form average offering.
Considering the tripling of the organizing people, one might think that communication
problems would surface quite fast and problems would start to pile up because people
do not know who does what and why. In practice, organizers actually got bit of lucky,
on the other hand because of the digitalization in general is transforming how our
whole society works (Kortelainen et al., 2019), and also on another the covid-19 had
got people already quite familiar commutating with remote tools means. In this
particular case, WhatsApp application was named as one especially useful tool and
communication channel to keep people informed and knowledgeable what was going
2.4 Experiences and learnings from event marketing point of
Because this event was in constant development cycle, the marketing team had a hard
time to keep up in the speed. For example things to learn for future events and SME
sized companies alike, from this development cycle are:
How to be able to produce and share content for competitors, audience and
event organizers in timely manner?
Because of resource and time limitations, some strategic and tactical level
marketing decisions had to be made. E.g. utilizing Imatranajo and Trailblazer
current social medial followers interest towards these organization activities
(around 20 000 followers in Facebook in that current time)
Consider how much audience can you really take in (bit of over booking is usually
just a good thing, but not too much (Cachon and Feldman, 2018)).
Also consider any municipality / physical area limitations or covid-19 like special
times restrictions of having mass of people at the same time in the same location
and focus your marketing efforts to achieve “just right” amount of participants.
From risk management point of view, huge overbooking can lead to situation,
that official, police etc. will have to stop the item when it is already in running
One practical learning from this race event promoting process, was the print
material. It takes lot of time from seed idea to have the material physically
present where it has been planned to be and it is real work to design, print,
deliver, put it on, remove after the event, take care of waste it generates and so
on. In short, do not underestimate the work and / or the power of physical print
and promotion material and plan it wisely (what you really need, where and
why?). Also, consider of utilizing expert help on marketing efforts, but try to find
partners to this effort, who are ready to adjust their fees, based on effectiveness
of their help in the marketing campaign (Zwerin et al., 2020).
As final point, the challenge for fast phased event organizing reality was the
marketing budget. It was not planned to be, what it did ended to be (remember
the tripling of organizing people in side the process). Marketing had to be
planned using hand to mouth practices (Chan and Garg, (1995)), which did limit
the creativity of the marketing team somewhat. Also the reality, that previous
year physical event have had tens of times more budget, than what this event
would anyhow be able to get, but the team in time and resource tight position
as they could not copy-paste marketing actions from previous years events.
First step on event impressions data collection started from the road 6, travelling
towards Imatra. Point was to look for signs or guidance towards the event to see are
there any physical signs to steer additional amount of people towards the event. In
this case, researcher did not notice any signs or guidance arrows etc.
Figure 5: Arriving to the Imatranajo event
First of all, the arriving to Imatra experience, then the next step of look around nearby
shopping areas and markets for indication that there is afternoon long event going to
happen soon in main market / town square. The parking lots of the markets did not
give indication on this direction and the case with shop visitors was, that no one was
talking about the event. This is most likely the result / reflection of fact, that not all the
planned physical prints were not been able to deliver to near by areas, as it was the
original plan.
Figure 6: Emptines in partking lots, in near by shopping centers
Also, it was sort of unexpected that basically zero motorcycles were seen in Imatra,
within last few hours before the actual event itself. For future development, it would
be suggested to add some guidance in road 6, towards the event, and few flyers in the
message boards of local shops or signs in the parking lots guiding in the event direction.
Figure 7: Motorists with motor cycles not to be seen anywhere, neat the event?
And lastly, for complete “Imatra newbie” one could get lost and get unoriented few
hundred meters away from the event. This could happen, as there is the Imatran tori
(open market square near the Imatra river and city centre), which had market day on
that particular imatranajo event day. This market day had nothing to do with the virtual
drives event, but if this was the market area where visitor trying to arrive the event
would be walking first, it would have been hard to get into the actual event area.
Figure 8: Near by imatrankosken tori
Specifically, considering the visitors outside Imatra, who were coming into the event
with their own car, the event was only actually visible to main road from one direction.
And this visibility was between high buildings, in the location where the driver would
face a busy car roads cross section area. Basically, the driver would most likely be
focusing on the street lights and traffic and because of that, miss the event activity
location. On the other hand, this would happen only on the morning time, before
actual midday event starting point. After the grand opening start, the 200+ motor bikes
convey arrived to show area and these motor bikes were parked in the road side, given
clear indication where to find the event itself.
Figure 9: Limited street view to the event area
Figure 10: Huge convey of motorcycles arriving to the event area
Figure 11: Bikes parked to the road side, giving away the event location
In short, from the point of view of a visitor outside South Carelia, the approach to the
actual event side was viewed to see, is there last 100-500m guidance notes where to
go. The memory was to arrive to Imatra Tori and if that was the location where people
did ask guidance to, they would have arrived to close by the actual event but wrong
location. Based on the experience and previous test with approaching similar events a
set of development notes should be shared:
1. It is good basic approach for the event organizers, to leave few guiding points
for the arriving audience. Usually familiar logo, colors and arrow sign in right
direction, in the nearby the event areas, should be enough to guide the visitors
to understand “where to go”
2. Additional signs for direction to find motorbike and car parks would be helpful
as it will also work as a clear sign people are arriving in proper neighborhood
and are near by the event they are seeking for
3. Field test with local shop clerks one or two days before the event to ask them
“by the way, can you hint me to right direction towards “Virtuaalinen
Imatranajo” to see how familiar locals, shop keepers and hotel clerks are with
the event. This will give the organizers some base hints about how much
different focus groups might need help to find to right location, in addition to
the support they can get from locals.
3.1. Arriving into the event area
First impression from the field test was, that the area is quite relaxed, there is a lot of
organizers around and lot of space for additional audience. The tent organizing people
reported a general feeling as “no panic” and technical stuff got working as expected.
Figure 12: Event area map from 2 days before the event
3.2. The opening experience in the event
The event itself opened around midday. The opening time gets people ready for
“something” to happened and there was clear positive vibes in the air. So, around the
midday, even when lot of other possible summer events had to be cancelled in summer
2020 in Finland, an outdoor event was possible and a place to go in this nice summer
day. In this specific time, the People were focusing on the context of opening speech
and going around different offering of activities, the organizers had build for the
Figure 13: Event around midday, in summer 2020
Within these possibilities, nothing got us effectual in emotional sense, as was the
arrival of the convey of motor bikes. The 200+ motorbike convey got hards to beat and
lot of smiles to faces all around the event areas. Other activities in good use, at the
opening time were the family activities for the youngest family members and retro
games location which was nicely given connectivity activities, between different age
Figure 14: Convey of motorbikes arriving to event area
There was some “sound of thunder” in the air, when the huge amount of motorbikes
arrived at the event. Some earlier estimates were, beforehand the event, that the
event would receive around 50 or so bikes. In reality, the event did summon more than
200 bikes. The organizers had rough impression, that around 165 bikes left from
parking areas towards the event, but they also got “support groups” to join into the
line of bikes. From marketing and event feeling point of view, the most important
experience enhancement was the reality, that the bikes did not “just arrive” they were
actually driven through the center of the area to give a big event sort of feeling. Based
on discussions with the family members, interviewed children of participating families,
researchers in the event site and also discussed with the event organizers being in the
event site, this was one of the big spectacles of the day and clearly the audience was
highly positively taken by it. As a retrospective reflection, there could have been a “ride
off” part of this bike gathering in the end of the event to close it with a “bang”.
Additionally, the use of music at the same time was felt to be a positive addition to this
spectacle 😊.
Figure 15: Getting ready to park the event promoting bike convey
3.3. Daytime event experience and participant view
So in short, the arrival of bikes is followed by live rock music, played from the main
presentation platform. From field study point of view, it did sound like the music was
played with really high volume, but the discussions with the audience did give a sense
that it was not totally in the intolerable loud range anyways. Basically, it seems that
the sort of people, got to the event in this specific year, were ok with the music
loudness. For example, by looks of how the audience stayed near by the platform the
volume did not seem to be problem for people either. But for the future events, if it is
possible, the organizers should take the planned audience into account, and maybe try
to arrange zones for music volume levels. Asking for the public opinion, the general
family point of view was “in any event, which is market to be family friendly, the ability
to speak between parents and for the children is a must”. On another hand, it is the
goal by the organizers to “boost up the volume” to keep everything as family friend as
possible, this should be informed beforehand and an advice for ear plugs for sensate
people is more than highly advised.
For example, to be able market the event as family friendly or inclusive one, the sound
volume levels could be included in event map, especially in promoting channels, where
worried people could be expected to find the event promotion material. This sort of
idea was specially noted by a mom who has been in multiple events in last few years
with her children. General note was that the volume is more than over the needed
levels, specially to people who feel they might be a bit more sensitive to over volume.
Given the tightening up legislation in multiple different fields of public events, this
thing should be taken seriously by the event organizers. Instead of up scaling the
amount of sound and volume in center of the event (to get it to be heard for long
range), why not apply simply physics and add supportive speakers more far away from
the center? Doing that gives the option to lower the center area volume levels, but still
achieve to get the “feeling of activity” to achieve a far range of population participating
into the event. Additionally, people do not need to shout so much for others to be able
to hear them, which also reduces the total amount of noise pollution and negative
feedback loop of constantly rising volume levels, generated by outside area events like
this one, when people try to add speech volumes to help others to hear them out
(Webster and Klumpp, 1962; Lu and Cooke, 2008; Lu and Cooke, 2009).
Figure 16: Grown at the event area, in the daytime
Around two a clock in afternoon, the gathering of biggest masses is unwinding a bit.
The event area gets back to levels before the high point of motorbikes arrival and
different activity sites start to have more openings to “jump in directly” to test them.
Before this point, people had to wait in queue to have their change to test eg.. retro
games and children drawing activity stations.
Figure 17: Start of the afternoon offers more open spaces in event area
3.4. Afternoon and closing time
One interview participant arrived at the event in late part of the afternoon, around
16:00. In this time of the event, the spike of the people in this area has started to
levitate, and first note was the event music had already stopped, which were a bit of
led down for the person and her family members. Overall the atmosphere was relaxed,
and sun was shining nicely. Lot of older people were sitting in cafés and restaurants
and enjoyed the atmosphere, the day and feeling the event with the crowds was
generating. Younger children were playing in the open publiac playgrounds. There
were not too many free / open places to sit available, which given the heat of
midsummer afternoon sun heat, might have been missed by the audience (specially
the people in pension age group). Two main points were, that within the daytime the
age variety of participants was really wide and secondly the event was clearly having
its peak in the start and near the start of the event time.
When asked from the event organizers, following were the first-hand insights to the
event day was, that the feeling should be speeding up towards to end, and have big
emotional rush in there. Now it was more in the start / first hour or so in the event
time, which was not the organizers intention. Also, the whole program time could have
been one hour shorter, just to keep the spirit in higher levels. And last, as the games
for crowds were so popular, there could be more of those in following years, for the
whole time of the event, even some “pre-games” before the actual grand opening.
As a timeline summary, following was noted by the authors and explained by the
organizers and interviewed audience.
10:00 few kilometers away from the event side. No indication of any sort of
event at the town at that day.
10:30 At the parking lots of shopping centers, no motorbikes to be seen, and
people at the shops are not talking about the event either.
11:10 The ”Imatran tori” is empty, related to the virtual imatranajo event
content (the wrong market area, but a place where non local could easily end
up wondering)
11:45 The event area is surprisingly open. Opening should be in 15 minutes,
wondering where the mass of people is or will there be any?
12:05 Opening moment, relaxing feeling, no big rush of people to be seen
12:45 The mass of 200+ motorbikes arrive to the area. Feeling spikes to the sky
and event starts to feel like a real event. People is moving around and testing
different activities, offered by the organizers.
13:20 Rock music starts to be in so loud levels, that some audience members
start to wonder, was it the idea, that this is family friend event?
14:10 Music volumes start to calm down. At the same time, one of the authors
noticed, that there seem to be surprisingly high number of organizers around,
compared to the audience. The children play ground is really popular at the
moment, lot of families are enjoying the good weather and active city center. As
side note, the retro games corner is not that active in this particular event, than
what it has been seen to be in other esports / virtual events previously.
14:40 Up to this point, we got reports that there was bit of queues in crowd
activity areas, like free to play motorhead games booths. At the time of final
competition drives, the market place grounds started to free up from the highest
peak of visitor masses.
15:50 The competition driving of the finals is still ongoing. It seems this takes bit
too long with all the setup times, driver switching, announcements, technical
delays and so on. Still there is a set of people watching the finals all the time. In
short, the feeling was that it was interesting for most enthusiast event visitors,
but for large audience, the time used for finals, should be bit shorter.
16:05 Finals are still going on, lot less comments on the drives now. Maybe some
intermediate announcement of what is going on, would be useful for the
audience. Also, a visuals who is in what position and what is currently going on
would be nice to have.
3.5. Young participant and moms experience from the event
Young participant had the feeling, that before the midday, there was no feeling of rush
at all. The organizing of things went quite smooth (the person was participating as
assistant). The actual “event” feeling started, when the motorcycles arrived to the
event site and were parked to sides of the event. In the start, the loud music was too
loud to be able to speak easily, so that other people could hear what the perso
nwanted to say. As a positive side, the loud music did help outsider to pin point where
to go to find this event. Overall this leads to an idea to consider speakers, which can
be put in the outer limits on the event and pointed in directions where people arrive,
but where people do not live or stay for long times.
Experience from the event time was, that there could be more general announcements
what is going on, what is next and where people can go to see some intermediate
actions, between the scheduled event points. With proper considerations of how much
space is reserved per event activity point and how one can come and go with the
activity, social distancing limitations and be taken into account and people do not feel
so pressured to rush to next place as phase of things is more laid down and relaxed.
The assisting younger generation people had the feeling the day was well organized
and they had good time to go to eat too. As an improvement point, more activities
were hoped for. E.g. international tournament, wider range of games, different style
of test points (for example virtual strength test, which takes 5 to 10 seconds to do so
people can constantly test who is the best). All in all, the current experiment was said
to be positive. Final comment “I would participate again”.
For the mom, the overall feeling was good from this event. The event felt relaxed and
in general fit for “everyone”. She was happy, that there dd not seem to be “last minute
panic” feeling around. Authors note, the organizers did comment that there were
some, but they were able to sort these out, so things did not show to the participating
crowds 😊. Also, the mom said that this is definitely a good change for a young
assistant to see how much there really is to do to run event like this. From home
feedback, the food ticket to Rosso restaurant and a t-shirt which was given the support
team had been felt to be really “cool” gifts / support from the organizers direction. For
future, organizers could study different reasons why people give freely their own spare
time to events and causes to keep contributors happy and inspired (Palacin et al.,
2020). And considering the Finnish society, and practical opportunities for young
school pupils and students to experience work in real situations, it was felt by the mom,
that this sort of event would also fir to so called TET (työelämään tutustumisjakso)
period too. As development point, some cart cars and kick bikes were suggested.
Maybe some competitions for the youngest family members?
Lot of social media activity was going around, even after the actual event time. Also,
one could find the highlights of the event video in YouTube:
Figure 18: news about the results from the event, relate to the final results
Based on collected numeric statistics, this even did collect over 22 000 views for the
streamed qualification races, and pre- and post-promotional event videos were viewed
around 10 000 times. different social media posts total number was over 100 and these
posts were viewed from hundreds of times to thousands of times per post. These
numbers are basically based on social media follower’s activity, in Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram. Commercial marketing services for social media was used for mere 100
euros, which is basically nothing nowadays, especially when we know how effective it
can be e.g. in SME companies marketing efforts (Silva et al. 2020; Syaifullah et al.,
Based on the audience feedback and the competitive players, everyone would like the
event to be organized again in summer 2021 and specially if the 2021 event could be
part of physical Imatranajo event. If this will be the case, more locations where people
can use hand sanitizers might be helpful as some many people will be using and
touching same machines / game controllers. Special thanks were given for the
multitude of activities event had, compared to the expectations people had, especially
taking into account how hard it was to be able to organize anything in covid-19 summer
2020 time. And same seems to continue also in social media comments too.
Figure 19: Social media comments, after the event
Organizers did feel that they should have done bit more work on keeping the
discussion active, after the actual event time. This has been considered as a
development point in the future and is also a good point to keep in mind for anyone,
who organizes any event at all.
As conclusion of this report and field study experience, following can be stated from
this event. Even the family members, who do not play themselves, felt that the event
offered them a reason to come to the event as family, because the family members
who did play and the children had things to do in this event. More people was expected
to be around for the whole time of the event and even before the actual start. Based
on discussions with the organizers and support staff in the event, small family
competitions before the 12:00 grand opening, could work in the morning time and
some feeling boosting effort could be considered for the late afternoon time.
More activity tends were mentioned as development feedback and things that would
get the audience to be around the finalist drives main stage would be also beneficial
for this event. Current feeling was, that the finalist competitive racing was not as much
of the key central point of the event, what it could have been. Additional background
music could be considered as “atmosphere boosting” element, plus Imatran koski
show with motorbikes driving over the river bridge at the event closing time could be
nice closing activity.
For local collaboration, it was suggested that city center shops should be contacted
and discussed with for possible option to keep their doors open more for later evening
time visitors, when people start to move away from event like this. Also, food and
other sales popup shops were asked for as possibility to be had in 2021 or any following
year, if the event is organized again later on. For foreigners and non-locals, a wide
range of suggested means to arrive to the event and where to park motorbikes and
cars will be useful information, specially if people are purposely staying away public
transportation and closed inside spaces. And for social media activity, it was suggested
for future events, that special photo taking locations and maybe some celebrities could
be considered too.
As final question, what would be the “plan B”, in case of highly rainy day or something
like that? There was lot of computers in the event, and of course the high heat and
direct sun light is not good for monitors and / or computers, but rain would be
definitely even worse. Maybe some community wisdom could be activated and
collected for Plan B options for future events (Palacin et al., 2019)?
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