Jyväskylä City Government approved 8th of June a cooperation agreement between Jyväskylä City and AKK Sports Ltd on organising the Finnish round of the World Rally Championship in 2021-2023. Neste Rally’s organiser wants to strengthen its cooperation networks not only with the city but also with regional parties in the spirit of responsible rally making.
Jyväskylä's role as the traditional rally host of the Rally Finland will remain strong with the newest cooperation agreement. The rally has been held in Jyväskylä since 1951. This year's event has been postponed to next year due to the international pandemic, but Jani Backman the Promoter of the Rally Finland, sees also some light in an exceptional situation.
“Although the largest annual sporting event in our country will not take place this August, it gives an opportunity to return next year even bigger and more popular. Together with Jyväskylä City and its regional companies, we have an opportunity to design and develop the product for next year, that will interest the sportspeople, friends of summer activities and local consumers of urban culture in new ways as well. We are building the Rally Finland together responsibly not only for the future but also for future generations. One great example is the cooperation with the Yrityskylä Central Finland that started this spring”, describes Backman.
The importance of the Rally Finland to the reputation of Jyväskylä City and the region, both nationally and internationally, is significant throughout the year. The economic impact on Central Finland is also remarkable. According to a study conducted in 2017, the total revenue of the event is approximately EUR 20 million, of which approximately EUR 14.4 million is allocated to the Central Finland region. For several small entrepreneurs and the community organising the event, the rally is one of the biggest sources of income for the year.
The Rally Finland employs 4,000-4,500 volunteers each year, including about 100 local clubs, organisations, and associations. In 2019, the Jyväskylä Paviljonki Service Park had about 66,000 visitors, with the rally offering a total of more than 290,000 spectator experiences. TV streams of the rally spread to more than 150 countries and reached nearly 189 million contacts worldwide through social media. The event is still one of the most well-known business cards in our country in the world.
AKK's cooperation with Jyväskylä City has for several years culminated in the Harju City Special Stage, which was followed last year by a total of 35,000 spectators on site. The responsible Rally Finland will be built with the city in an even more versatile way in the future, for example as part of Visit Finland's sustainable development pilot project, Sustainable Travel Finland. Last year, nationwide cooperation with Mediatalo Keskisuomalainen produced an official rally guide that reached 3.1 million readers, and a new digital version was offered to readers free of charge. The joint project launched with the Yrityskylä Central Finland in the Spring will present the Rally Finland to 6th graders during the coming year from the perspectives of responsibility, community, and diversity.