Stadium Design Summit
Outstanding Achievement Award
The Outstanding Achievement Award recognises an individual that has
shown exceptional commitment, service and leadership to stadium design
and development over a sustained period of time …and the award goes to…
Mika Sulin Co-Founder, Starsquad
Mika Sulin has lived his life in sports, having played in the Finnish ice hockey SM liiga before embarking on a career in sports management, marketing and sponsorship. But this award recognises his achievements in venue design and development. During the 90’s Sulin led the Nike Nordic, Central and Eastern Europe operations. Combining his love of hockey, his arena travels and the commercial skills honed at Nike, Sulin was appointed managing director of the proposed Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.
Opened in 1997, the 15,0000-capacity Hartwall Areena was the first entertainment building in Europe which fullyembraced the commercial ideas of North America pro hockey facilities – including loges and premium seating, a multi-use design with easy load-in for concerts, enhanced and segmented catering offers and even a naming rights deal. Hartwall Arena set the trend for Europe’s next generation of arenas. Together with Finnish businessman Harry Harkimo, Mika spent the next decade developing more than US$1.3bn of multipurpose arenas across Europe, including Hamburg (now Barclaycard Arena) in 2002 and Prague (now The O2 Arena) in 2004.
Mika has also held board membership positions at Lippupiste, Vierumäki Sports Institute, The Finnish Ice Hockey Federation and hockey team Jokerit HC. As an independent sports marketing consultant, Mika is well known for his strong hockey background, solid business acumen and large network of contacts in both the sports and business worlds. He has negotiated some of the largest sports sponsorship deals in the Nordics. He also understand how to fill arenas and deliver major events for associations and broadcasters From 2010, he was Secretary General for the IIHF World Championships Organising Committee, overseeing the delivery of this global sports event in twin host cities of Sweden and Finland in 2012 and 2013.
In recent years Sulin has been called upon as an independent consultant whose advice has been sought in several sports events and arena projects both in Finland and internationally. Tampere’s Central Deck & Arena project – which includes an 11,000-capacity arena, four office towers, shopping mall and hotel – is the latest in a long line of mixed-use developments which includes the input and wisdom of Mika Sulin. Twenty years on from opening Hartwall Arena, this Finn continues to push our industry forward.
TheStadiumBusiness is proud to have known Mika Sulin not only as a friend for the past 20 years, but also a pioneer, marketeer and entrepreneur.