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Eurovision 2023: Arenas
EUROVISION 2023

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 esc.hostcity@bbc.co.uk

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.

Glasgow

Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland, and the fourth most populous city in the United Kingdom. It is the fifth most visited city in the UK, and has more than 15,000 hotel rooms throughout the Greater Glasgow area.

The city is notable for its architecture, culture, media, music scene, sports clubs, and transportation connections. The city was the European Capital of Culture in 1990, and hosts various renowned cultural institutions like The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The Scottish Ballet, and The Scottish Opera.

Glasgow has a large urban transport system and is served by two international airports, all roughly 45 minutes away from the city centre. Glasgow international airport is approximately 20 minutes drive from the OVO Hydro arena.

Glasgow Promotion Video

Ovo Hydro

Glasgow wants Eurovision Song Contest 2023 to be held in the Ovo Hydro arena, the largest entertainment venue in Scotland.

The arena opened its doors in 2013, can hold up to 14,300 spectators at its maximum, and attracts over 1 million visitors annually.

The Ovo Hydro is probably familiar to the Eurovision fans who have watched the movie "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga," where some of the movie was shot.

Eurovision 2023 Glasgow: Ovo Hydro Arena
Ovo Hydro Arena

Huge names have performed in the arena, to mention a few: Maroon 5, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue, Ariana Grande, Elton John, Madonna, U2, Adele, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Michael Bublé, Cher, Céline Dion...

In 2014 the arena hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards.

From Glasgow City Centre, it takes around 20 minutes to walk to Ovo Hydro (2.5 km). It is served by the Exhibition Centre railway station.

Liverpool

Liverpool has evolved from its industrial past to become one of Britain's most thriving and dynamic cultural hubs.

Liverpool's metropolitan area is the fifth largest in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2.2 million, and in 2019 was the fifth most visited city in the UK. Liverpool has a big connection with the world of arts, especially with music as it is the "home" of The Beatles.

Liverpool is a UNESCO City of Music, and the heart of the community is still the football club, Liverpool F.C.

The city was the European Capital of Culture in 2008, and has more galleries and museums than any other UK city but London: Museum of Liverpool, Spaceport Planetarium, Tate Liverpool, to name a few.

The city features an efficient public transportation network, and the Liverpool John Lennon Airport is connected to numerous international destinations.

Liverpool Promotion Video

Liverpool Arena

M&S Bank Arena, previously Echo Arena

The Liverpool Arena, also called "M&S Bank Arena," is part of Exhibition Centre Liverpool and is located in central Liverpool right next to River Mersey. The arena opened in 2008, and has a capacity of 11,000.

Eurovision 2023 Liverpool: M&S Bank Arena
Liverpool M&S Bank Arena

It hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2008 and has hosted huge concerts such as Andrea Bocelli, Beyoncé, Elton John, Kanye West, Kasabian, The Killers, Lady Gaga, Oasis, Pink, Rihanna...

Since the opening in 2008, the complex has attracted more than 8 million visitors to around 4,500 events.

Direct public transport to the M&S Bank Arena is by bus. James Street railway station is a short walk away and is served by the Merseyrail Wirral Line. The station is two stops away from Liverpool Lime Street mainline station.

ELIMINATED CITIES

After the first shortlist was announced on 12 August, and the latest reduction on 27 September, there are several host city candidates that are eliminated from the race:

Aberdeen

Eliminated on 12 August

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.

Belfast

Eliminated on 12 August

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.

Birmingham

Eliminated on 27 September

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.

Bristol

Eliminated on 12 August

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.

Cardiff

Eliminated on 12 August

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.

Leeds

Eliminated on 27 September

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.

London

Eliminated on 12 August

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.

Manchester

Eliminated on 27 September

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.

Newcastle

Eliminated on 27 September

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.

Nottingham

Eliminated on 12 August

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.

Sheffield

Eliminated on 27 September

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.

About the author: Pedro Santos (Portugal)

authorPedro comes from Lisbon, Portugal. He's 29 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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