An entrepreneurial businessman who played a key part in helping the the1982 All Whites get to the FIFA World Cup finals in Spain has died in Auckland.
Ari Hallenberg helped develop new ways of creating sponsorships for football, generating income through innovative broadcast rights packages that delivered benefits for sponsors, broadcasters, football and fans who could watch games live.
He and business partner Ian Shaw formed a business called Global Promotions which worked with football administrator Charlie Dempsey to raise the sum of almost $1 million needed to fund the All Whites’ 15-match qualifying campaign in 1981.
At the time, the participation costs were considered huge — by comparison, New Zealand had spent a mere $54,000 for its entire previous World Cup campaign in 1978.
‘Without a doubt, Global changed the way football marketed itself’
Hallenberg and Shaw began their association with football in August 1980 when they read in a newspaper that the New Zealand team’s planned tour of Canada might be cancelled because it was $10,000 short of the required cost.
They met Dempsey at his regular haunt, the Remuera Golf Club, and offered a $3,000 sponsorship through their downtown sports goods store, Athletic Attic.
That discussion led to Global’s appointment as the lead driver of fundraising for the national team.
They helped bring together a group of corporate sponsors, led by Rothmans and the Countrywide Building Society, and television deals were struck to broadcast the All Whites games.
Merchandising included T-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, scarves and even a recorded song (Ray Woolf’s Heading for the Top on the A side, the squad’s All Whites team song on the B side).
Without a doubt, Global changed the way football marketed itself in New Zealand.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, another Hallengberg company, Adventure Tours, was responsible for bringing teams to New Zealand to play exhibition games to promote the sport, such as Everton’s visit in 1987.
Hallenberg: Recognised by Finland’s president for his role as Consul-General
Hallenberg was the successful owner of advertising and marketing agencies for almost 30 years before he sold his business in 2008.
He then focussed on projects and roles that benefitted his communities and his lifelong interests in sports and music.
For many years, he chaired the Four Winds Foundation, a body that has distributed grants to many sports bodies, including football clubs.
He was the long-time Honorary Consul-General for Finland, taking on the role from 1985-2017, and in 2018 he became the first person in the Southern Hemisphere to be awarded Finland’s Knight Commander of the Order of Lion of Finland by the country’s president.
In 1995, he had been awarded Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland.
Hallengberg was an active member of many professional organisations such as NZ-Scandinavian Business Association, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, The Northern Club, The Carbine Club and was a life member of the Auckland Consular Corps.
Our thanks to Dr Barbara Cox, OBE, and for Armin Lindenberg’s book New Zealand’s World Cup, which provided much of the information in this tribute to Ari Hallenberg.
Ari Juani Hallenberg (1942 — 2022)
Death notice from the NZ Herald:
HALLENBERG, Ari Juani. Knight, First Class, of the Order of the White Rose. Knight Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland. Suddenly on 9 March 2022 at home in his 81st year. Beloved husband of Margaret for 49 years. Kindly father to Karl and Jono. Cherished brother of Kalervo (Finland), Sirpa and Solei (Brisbane). Respected by many in business, sporting bodies, the Finnish community serving as Consul General for Finland and chairman of the Four Winds Foundation. A funeral service to celebrate the life of Ari will be held at Grange Manor, 400 Dominion Road, Mt Eden on Thursday 17 March at 10.30am. Vaccine passes required. Contact [email protected] for access to the live-stream.
Through the publication of obituaries, Friends of Football tries to recognise the loss of those who have significantly contributed to our game.