Interview: Marianne Konster - Aiming High & Dreaming Big In The Sports Media World

Marianne Konster has been around football for quite some time, working to help promote the game in Finland. Most of her work is around media, however, she is making a big impact in her homeland. You also may remember her taking over our Facebook during American Football Without Barriers camp, as well as the first game of the Northern European Football League season between Helsinki Roosters and Uppsala 86ers.

BACKGROUND

My love for American football began in my teens. I was waiting to see the Super Bowl halftime show and I did not want to miss it, so I decided that the best way to stay awake was to learn the basic rules of the sport so I would be motivated to stay up. In the end, I fell in love with the sport and the halftime show did not matter to me that much anymore.

Years later I was studying sport journalism in Haaga-Helia’s sport institute of Finland in Vierumäki. Part of the studies was to do two internships and I automatically thought about American football. So I contacted Suomen Amerikkalaisen Jalkapallon Liitto also known as SAJL, the Finnish federation. They asked me to come to the office to have a chat and at the end of the meeting they handed me the responsibility to do the media for Women’s World Championship 2013, which were held in Finland. I have been along for the ride ever since.

DAY TO DAY

Over the years I have had the chance to do everything under the sun in regards to media for the federation. I have done press, social media, photography, interviews and it has been a joy and a good learning process for me.

The past three seasons I have been the game day TV reporter for our National football league Vaahteraliiga. My responsibilities have included doing the pregame, halftime and postgame interviews. I have also been the link between our production company, the teams and other personnel during game days.

For the season 2017., my job description changes a bit as I am going to be part of our game day production company MobileTV. I will still be doing interviewing during the season however they have offered me the possibility to educate myself on the production of the Vaahteraliiga broadcasting, so I will also be doing graphics and editing for the TV and social media as well.

It is going to be exciting season as for the first time we will have all Vaahteraliiga games (45) live on TV instead of one weekly game. This is a big step for football in Finland and I will have the chance to part of every game! How I see what I do is more than just asking questions, I see it as widening and engaging bigger audiences to the sport. My job is to transfer information and to bring football closer to people watching the games at home.


PROUD MOMENTS

We have had the same team in our TV game production for the past three years and I’m most proud of what we have accomplished together. Like football, TV production is team effort. Everyone needs to know their tasks, what to do and where to be. We are live on TV and anything can happen, and we as a unit have to handle every situation without skipping a beat. And I can tell you everything possible has happened! Main thing is that no one at home watching the game knows what is going on behind the scenes.

My crew is everything to me during the summer, we are the “dream team” as we have jokingly called ourselves! We are a small family during summer and this summer will be no exception as now we are going see each other three times more!

Also the success of the Women’s World Championships in 2013 was a highlight for me. We exceeded all our goals and like said it was my first experience to work in football so I am very proud of the outcome.

WOMAN IN FOOTBALL

I do not see that there have been obstacles, although when I first started in football I always kept hearing that “she is not from football” meaning I had never played, I came from outside the football community. I tried not to take it personally or negatively, I just do not think people understand everything I do. What I want people to understand is that we do not do football just for the people who already are part of football, our job is to grow the sport. As an “outsider” I think I can see this more clearly than some who have been in the football bubble for decades.

There are always people with opinions, you just have to focus on what you do and believe in what you do. Also as women there are more chances of rumors and gossip, yet again just know your own truth that is what matters. Do your job to the best of your abilities and do not let anyone affect that.

I am sure there is always, in every field of business, little resistance and hesitance when someone new comes along, women or a man. My experience to entering football has still been very positive and I have met the most amazing people along the way.

I am doing what I love to do. This coming season I get to learn new skills and educate myself which is important for me to be able to grow professionally.

Ultimately I would like to work in sports media outside of Finland. Learn how it is done in the BIG world. Always aim high and dream big.

WORDS OF WISDOM

Do not ever let anyone say you cannot do something. You can, just believe in yourself and what you do. Your ideas and input are as valuable as anyone else’s.

No matter who you are, where you are from or what is your past if you are passionate about something show it and good things will come. It might take a while but it is worth it.

Be bold, be brave and be a go-getter!

Like the slogan I came up with for the Women’s World Championship 2013: Tough game, tougher women! Includes both women on the field and off.
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