The most expensive contest in Eurovison history was Azerbaijan who spent 60 million Euro on the show in 2011 (On top of that, they spent another €100 million to fund their new venue in Baku).
Costs of producing the show and rebuilding the arena
The cost is divided between two parts:
• DR (Danmarks Radio), Denmark's Public broadcaster, who was responsible for producing and broadcasting the three shows from the arena.
• "Host City Copenhagen", the umbrella organisation that was created with the purpose of hosting Eurovision and rebuilding the old shipyard, B&W Hallerne, into an arena suitable for a TV production in that scale. The organisation consists of Copenhagen Municipality, The Capital Region, Wonderful Copenhagen tourism agency, and the owner of B&W Hallerne, REDA.
Public broadcaster DR spent €26,4 million in production, going over its budget by €1 million, while the "Host City Copenhagen" completely overshot its initial budget of €4.6 million and ended up spending €18.4 million on the arena and surroundings - a whopping €13.8 million more.
Martin Bender from "Host City Copenhagen" said 6 month before Eurovision week: "We have a budget of about 35 million kroner, which covers, among other things, transportation of people, arena construction in the hall, renovation of the hall, marketing, airport level security, power consumption, city dressing, and the establishment of a club in the capital with room for 3000 Eurovision guests, which will be the most attractive nightclub in Europe".
Transformation from shipyard to Eurovision-arena
Eurovision 2014 was held in the old "B&W hallerne", an old shipyard located on Refshaleøen in Copenhagen. Before the show the shipyard has to be built into an arena. It was this refurbishing that made the budget slide.
One reason is that the three main pillars of the halls were demolished to make DR able to create panoramas out over the audience. After the show the pillars were rebuilt. And it was far more expensive than expected.
To make room for DR's stage design they had to built a large tent area outside the halls for the press and the contestants. The amended plans resulted in a construction project fee, and the tent area cost extra in heating and cleaning. In addition the tents were ravaged by a storm shortly before Eurovision week.
Lars Benhard Jørgensen from the tourist organisation "Wonderful Copenhagen" said: "Over 90 percent of the extra costs went to repurposing B&W Hallerne. It was much, much more expensive than anyone would have imagined".
Concerns about the costs were raised as far back as September 2013, when B&W Hallerne was selected as the arena of Eurovision Song Contest 2014.
Fabian Holt, an associate professor at Roskilde University who has done extensive research in live events and venues, said that the budget numbers clearly demonstrate "disastrous management".
"There is no doubt that the city of Copenhagen and the organisations behind the partnership to produce Eurovision were very eager to make this happen. They seem to have been so seduced by the thought of holding a magical event that they forgot to ask critical questions about how realistic the plans and production were.".