Eurovision 2023: Arenas

Eurovision 2023: Which UK cities have what it takes to host?

Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will not be held in Ukraine. EBU is now in talks with United Kingdom's BBC to discuss the possibilities of having this year's runner-up hosting the event. This begs the question: which UK cities have what it takes to host Eurovision 2023?

Not a lot is known about the next year's Eurovision Song Contest. As of now, the only known fact is that Ukraine will not be hosting Eurovision 2023 despite Kalush Orchestra's victory in Turin with the song "Stefania".

Along with the news, EBU also stated that discussions with United Kingdom's broadcaster BBC will begin in order to study the possibilities of having the United Kingdom host the show after Sam Ryder's "Space Man" was the runner-up of Eurovision 2022.

If the United Kingdom will be hosting Eurovision 2023 let's have a look at the possible cities, taking into consideration EBU's main requirements for the host city:

  • A host venue able to accommodate at least 10,000 spectators
  • A press centre for 1,500 journalists (even if only 500 were allowed at last year's press centre)
  • A city served by an international airport
  • Hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators

FAQ: Host City Bidding

The BBC has published an FAQ about the host city bidding:

How do you apply to be a Host City?

– Any local authority interested in becoming a Host City can email

Does it cost to enter a bid?

– There is no charge to enter a bid. It is up to Cities whether they incur costs to support their bid.

Who decides who will be the Host City?

– The selection of the Host City for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will be determined by the BBC and the EBU.

How does the process work?

– It is a two-stage process and to be considered, any potential candidates must meet a set of minimum standards that demonstrate they have the capacity, capability and experience to host an event of this scale and complexity.

What are the key requirements?

– The final decision on selecting the Host City will be based on a city or region’s capacity and capability in meeting the BBC’s and the EBU’s requirements, as well as availability of resources and general experience in hosting a large and complex event such as the Eurovision Song Contest.

– For example, last year the EBU’s Host City criteria was based on providing a venue able to accommodate at least 10,000 spectators (as well as a press centre), that should be within easy reach of an international airport and with ample hotel accommodation.

Will there be different rounds?

– There will be two rounds. Once we have received applications, we will shortlist cities based on their ability to meet the requirements and their responses around capability and experience.

Will the government have a say on who hosts it?

– We may consult with the UK government but the decision on who will be the Host City will be determined by the BBC and the EBU.

When will you announce the Host City?

– We expect the process to be complete in Autumn and we will announce the successful Host City then.

It shouldn't be a problem for multiple British cities to fulfill those requirements and odds have already been launched in which city should host the event but let's take a closer look at the possible options.


4.3 million people live within Birmingham's metropolitan area making it one of the largest cities in the country. The city is well served by transportation and Birmingham Airport is located just 9.7 km away from the city centre being also one of the busiest airports in the UK.

As for possible venues, Utilita Arena Birmingham or Resorts World Arena could do the job with availability for 15,800 people and 15,685 respectively even if the bid should fall within the latter.

On top of all that, Birmingham has served as the host city back in 1998 and a campaign has already been launched to bring the contest back to the city.


Currently the favourite to host according to the bookmakers, in case Eurovision does take place in the United Kingdom, Glasgow's OVO Hydro (with capacity for over 14,000 people) is probably a familiar venue to the Eurovision fans who have seen the movie "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga".

In fact, the movie itself does help promote the idea of having Glasgow hosting the show and Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has already expressed her desire of seeing Eurovision be held in the city.

The city is the fourth-most populous city in the United Kingdom and its large urban transport system does give them bigger chances on hosting the event. As for airports, the city is served by three international airports all roughly 45 minutes away from the city centre, and Glasgow international airport is approximately 20 minutes drive from the OVO Hydro.


Part of West Yorkshire, the fourth-largest urban area in the United Kingdom with 1.7 million inhabitants, Leeds is already on the run to host Eurovision 2023.

The city's airport – Leeds Bradford International Airport – is located 13 km away from the city centre and has over 70 international destinations. Despite not having a metro system, it has one of the busiest railway stations outside of London.

The First Direct Arena can host up to 13,781 spectators and has been nominated as one of England's greatest landmarks.


Its metropolitan area is the fifth largest in the United Kingdom with a population of 2.24 million and in 2019 was the fifth most visited UK city. Liverpool has a big connection with the world of arts especially with music as it is the "home" of The Beatles.

The city features a strong service of transportation and the Liverpool John Lennon Airport with multiple international connections.

It has already been confirmed that Liverpool will bid to host Eurovision 2023. The Liverpool Arena fits the needs as it has a capacity for 11,000 people.


Another option on the list is Manchester, one more city within the United Kingdom that does not need big introductions.

With a great transportation service including trains, buses and trams, the Manchester Airport is the third busiest in the country with many international destinations that could easily serve the delegations and fans.

Just like many others, the city's mayor has also expressed his interest in bringing the show to the city. The AO Arena could serve as the host venue with a capacity for 21,000 people.


Smaller than many mentioned so far, Newcastle comes next on the list mainly due to the fact that it has a suiting arena.

The Utilitia Arena would be the chosen venue as it has a capacity for 11,400 people.

On top of that, the Newcastle International Airport is one of the main airports in the country handling over five million passengers per year and with over 90 destinations worldwide. Its transportation service is also quite complete and efficient.

No word or interest has been expressed so far by officials.


With a green area of 61%, Sheffield could also host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.

Councillors have already launched a campaign for the city to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine and, in fact, the Sheffield Arena could serve the purpose as it has a capacity for 13,600 people.

The transportation network is also versatile and the closest airport – Doncaster Sheffield Airport – is 29 km away from the city center.


After the shortlist was announced on 12 August, there are several host city candidates that are eliminated from the race:


Abardeen's politicians are certainly ready to bid to host the show. As soon as the news concerning the possibility of having the United Kingdom hosting Eurovision, six Aberdeen politicians put their name to a joint letter arguing BBC to bring Eurovision to the city. That seems, nonetheless, unlikely at first.

The city is located in North East Scotland and its airport, the Aberdeen Airport, serves both national and international flights and is located just 9 km from the city centre. As for the transportation network, it isn't Aberdeen strongest asset when compared to the remaining candidates.

Regardless, the P&J Live arena could certainly be used to host the show as it has capacity for 15,000 people.


It also doesn't seem like the most obvious choice and would be rather unlikely to have the biggest city of Northern Ireland, part of the UK, hosting Eurovision but councillors have already expressed their reasons on why Eurovision should be held in Belfast:

– Belfast already has a successful history of hosting large global events, such as the Giro d’Italia in 2014 or the MTV EMA awards in 2011, they said in a letter to the Belfast City Council.

Even though the Belfast International Airport offers both domestic and international flights, the city does not feature the most efficient transportation network when compared to others and the car-dependency does back up that idea.

Nonetheless, just like Aberdeen, the SSE Arena would be capable of hosting Eurovision 2023.


Bristol is also calling.

Marvin Rees – the mayor of the city – announced that he's also submitting a bid so that the city has a possibility of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.

The YLT Arena Bristol, currently being built, will be able to have up until 17,000 people in it and will be the arena used for the bid.

The city has its own international airport with direct flights to the majority of countries competing at the Eurovision Song Contest but it can also be served by other airports such as Heathrow, Cardiff, Exeter, and Birmingham.

In fact, Bristol's Harbour Festival, Bristol Balloon Fiesta or Bristol Pride are good examples that proof the city's abilities to host a big event.


A spokesman for the Principality Stadium in Cardiff has also expressed the willingness to host the Eurovision Song Contest:

– We have a 20-year history of successfully hosting the biggest music artists and sporting events in the world, and to add Eurovision, the world's biggest and much-loved music competition to the list, would be the cherry on top of the last two decades.

The Principality Stadium is not an arena and that could make Cardiff fall from the possibilities. Being a stadium (with a closable roof), it would have its own challenges for the production but could easily host over 73,000 people, a rather large number for the Eurovision standards.

The city is well served in transportation and its airport, the Cardiff Airport, does connect the city with the world by having both domestic and international flights.


It certainly needs no introductions despite the fact that Eurovision hasn't been held in a country's capital since Eurovision 2018.

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom with a population of over nine million people. The city does feature all of the requirements determined by EBU and could host Eurovision in one of the following two: the O2 Arena or the Ovo Arena Wembley.

The city's mayor has already expressed his interest in hosting the show.


Not a word of interest has been made public either about Nottingham but the city does feature an arena capable of hosting the event: the Motorpoint Arena.

The Motorpoint Arena is the smallest one so far and is capable of hosting up until 10,000 people. As for accessibility, the East Midlands Airport would serve the Eurofans and delegations.

About the author: Pedro Santos (Portugal)

authorPedro comes from Lisbon, Portugal. He's 27 years old and graduated in journalism. He has attended Eurovision Song Contest twice - 2018 and 2019 - but his first Eurovision memory takes him back to 2007 when Sarbel delivered his catchy "Yassou Maria" performance. Pedro's favorite Eurovision song is Albania's 2015 "I'm Alive" by Elhaida Dani which is also his favorite Eurovision edition.

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