• Cooper Olsen

Eurovision 2023: Potential UK host cities



With the official news that Eurovision will be in the UK in 2023, eyes have turned to which cities will be bidding to host the event.


In a matter of hours after the announcement, many cities put themselves forward to be awarded the right to stage Eurovision 2023.


The United Kingdom has already hosted Eurovision eight times before, more than any other nation.


We have dived into some of the potential host cities that could be the home to the next edition of the beloved song contest.



The Front Runners


Glasgow


Potential Venue: The OVO Hydro (14,000+ capacity)


Currently, one of the hot favourites to host the contest next year. The cultural capital of Scotland is more than capable to stage the biggest international singing competition on Earth. Many officials have offered up Glasgow to host including the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.


The OVO Hydro Arena is the largest venue in Scotland and has its very own special Eurovision connection already. The arena was used as the fictional venue for the contest in Will Farrel's 'Eurovision Song Contest - The Story of Fire Saga' film. The venue can host 14,300 people and its located adjacent to SEC exhibition centre which is a viable location for the press centre and delegation bubble.


Glasgow's international airport serves up to nine million passengers a year and the city has had heaps of experience staging major international events including the Commonwealth Games, MTV European Music Awards and Gymnastics World Championships. The city meets all the requirements set by the EBU and is a clear frontrunner to be the host of the 67th Eurovision Song Contest.



Manchester


Potential Venue: AO Arena Manchester (21,000+ capacity)


The second frontrunner takes to the centre of the United Kingdom to the city of Manchester, which hopes to host the event in its more mammoth-sized AO Arena.


The arena can welcome around 21,000 people and is the largest arena in the United Kingdom. The venue sits right next to Manchester Victoria station servicing the national rail and the city's mass tram network. Manchester Airport is the busiest airport outside of London in the United Kingdom, so the city is well and truly prepared to handle the influx of Eurovision fans, press and delegations.


The vibrant industrial city is a popular choice for tourists as there is loads to see and do. Manchester City Council has also expressed their wish to host Eurovision 2023 in their city and believes it's the perfect place to do so.



The Other Contenders


Birmingham


Potential Venues: Utilita Arena (15,800 capacity) or Resorts World Arena (15,600+ capacity)


The city of Birmingham is another contender that has thrown its metaphorical hat into the ring. Located in the centre of England, Birmingham would be well prepared to stage a major international event the size of Eurovision as the city is hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games this July.


Birmingham has two different arenas to offer up as potential venues for the contest, with both able to hold over 15,500 spectators each. Resorts World Arena does seem to edge out Utilita Arena due to its location right next door to the National Exhibition Centre which seems to be an ideal venue for the press centre and delegation bubble.


The city is also the last one in the United Kingdom to host Eurovision back in 1998 when Dana International took out the trophy with her legendary song 'Diva'. The city is eager to be the host city once again though as the Birmingham City Council put out a statement in response to the announcement made by the EBU saying that the city is "always open to exploring further opportunities to showcase Birmingham on the international stage".



Leeds


Potential Venue: First Direct Arena (13,780+ capacity)


Leeds located in the county of Yorkshire is a city with a population of just over half a million people. The city is already preparing to hold a year-long cultural extravaganza at the 'Leads 2023 - Year of Culture' which gives the municipality a unique setting to host the Eurovision Song Contest right in the middle of their massive event.


The city's closest airport is Leeds Bradford which has 60 direct flight routes to both domestic and international destinations. The city also had a suitable rail and bus network to easily get around the city and other regions of the country.


The potential venue to host the contest is Leeds' First Direct Arena which opened in 2013 and has since been named one of England's greatest landmarks and won best new venue in the world in 2014. The city has a suitable venue on hand and the backing of their city council who are ready to bid for Eurovision 2023.


Liverpool


Potential Venue: M&S Bank Arena (11,000 capacity)


The maritime city of Liverpool is an official UNESCO city of music and globably known as the hometown of one of the biggest bands in history, The Beatles. The city of half a million have already declared their desire to host the contest.


The potential venue put forward by Liverpool is the M&S Bank Arena. The arena is one of the smaller venues suggested so far in the bids to host but what it lacks in size, it makes up in location. M&S Bank Arena is directly next to an exhibition centre perfect to host the Press Centre and backstage areas for the delegations. The venue is also serviced by an extensive bus-line stopping directly outside the arena as well as being close by to the James Street Railway Station.


The city known for its history with music and the arts isn't an early favourite to be awarded the right to host but it does meets all the requirements set by the EBU and could be a dark horse in the bidding race.

London


Potential venues: OVO Wembley Arena (12,500) or O2 Arena (20,000 capacity)


The capital city of the United Kingdom and one of the world's most iconic cities, London is more than willing to stage next year's Eurovision Song Contest. The Mayor of London tweeted that "We're ready to step up and support Ukraine by hosting a contest that pays tribute to and honours the Ukrainian people, and also celebrates the very best of Britain too."


The city has two major venues that are no stranger to hosting massive international events. The iconic O2 Arena in the heart of London is one of the largest in Europe and the Wembley Arena is a historic venue that is turning 90 years old next year. Either venue could easily stage the contest.


It would seem that London would be a clear favourite to host Eurovision but that is not the case. Both venues in London already have scheduled events during the time needed for hosting the contest. And even if they could fit Eurovision into their tightly packed schedules, there has been a major push from both the BBC and the government to host events outside of the capital.



The Other Interested Cities


Brighton


Brighton has made a push for the right to host Eurovision 2023. The city last hosted Eurovision back in 1974 when ABBA won the contest with 'Waterloo'. Now the city is ready to host the show 49 years later.


The Brighton and Hove City Council leader has stated online his wish to host the contest and that they will begin discussions with the BBC and the EBU to do so. Unfortunately for the seaside destination, they don't currently have a viable venue to stage Eurovision as the Brighton Centre only has room for just over 5,500 people which is almost half of the required size


Aberdeen


Another Scottish city is also looking to become the host of the contest. Aberdeen has put forward its new 15,000-seat P&J Live arena. The venue opened in 2019 and hosted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in 2019 but it's highly unlikely that they'd be adding Eurovision 2023 to their hosting list.


Unfortunately, Aberdeen doesn't have the name recognition or hosting experience that Glasgow has. Scotland's first minister has already endorsed Glasgow to be the next host city but that hasn't stopped Aberdeen from also jumping into the pool of candidates.



Edinburgh


The capital of Scotland and the fictional host city of the contest in the Eurovision movie has stepped forward as a potential candidate to stage the competition. Edinburgh has hosted Eurovision in 1972 but since then the size of the contest has grown immensely and found a suitable venue may be an issue for the city.

British politician Miles Briggs mentioned that the city of Edinburgh and the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv share a 30-year bond linked as twin cities. With the contest unable to be staged in Ukraine, Edinburgh is ready to host it in their honour.

Sheffield


Another city with ties to Ukraine. Sheffield has made it a point to share the fact that the city is twinned with the Ukrainian city of Donetsk during its bid to host next year's Eurovision. The city does have a suitable venue to host the contest, The Utilitia Arena which can hold over 13,000 people. At the time of writing this list, UK betting sites aren't predicting Sheffield to be awarded hosting rights as the city sits at 25/1 and near the bottom of the potential candidates.


Other cities to also show interest in bidding include:


  • Belfast

  • Bristol

  • Derry

  • Nottingham

  • Sunderland

  • Wolverhampton


With the UK being next in line to begin discussions with the European Broadcasting Union to stage Eurovision 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, the enthusiasm by British fans has been overwhelmingly positive to the idea of hosting the song contest.


It is still very early days in the race to host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest. More details on whether the UK will be officially confirmed as hosts plus dates will come out in due course.


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