Not even two months have passed since Loreen's triumph at Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool, and already things are starting to kick into gear for next year's contest in Sweden.
So much so that there are some reports that indicate the host city for Eurovision 2024 could be announced as soon as next weekend July 7 or 8.
In recent weeks we've seen cities submit their bids, potential dates tossed around, and a list of possible demands from the host broadcaster. And to top it off, we've even heard bold plans to create a pop-up arena in a shipping port.
So with a host city announcement imminent, here's your guide to what we know about Eurovision 2024 in Sweden so far.
The cities it could be held in
Four cities are in the running to host Eurovision 2024 after they lodged their bids with national broadcaster SVT by the deadline of June 12. They are:
According to ESC Today, Stockholm got in first and submitted their bid on June 7, followed by Gothenburg a few days later. Malmö and Örnsköldsvik kept everyone guessing but eventually submitted their bids just before deadline. All the cities, except for Örnsköldsvik, have hosted Eurovision at least once before.
SVT are assessing the four bids based on a reported wishlist of about 100 key criteria and requests. They include hotel price controls and having at least 3,500 rooms available, branded taxis and reliable transport options, a press centre for 1,200 people, and the ability to host a 'handover ceremony' and allocation draw in January.
The proposed venues
One of the Eurovision Broadcasting Union's big requirements is for the contest to be held in an venue which can hold at least 10,000 fans. We sized up the biggest arenas Sweden has to offer late last month - and you can read more about them here.
Several sites have reported the bidding cities shortlisted these venues as the centrepieces of their bids:
Stockholm - Temporary arena in a shipping port
Gothenburg - Scandinavium
Malmö - Malmö Arena
Örnsköldsvik - Hägglunds Arena
In any other year, Stockholm would be the hot favourite to host, given the Swedish captial has three big suitable venues and other desired infrastructure to tick all the EBU's boxes. But its bid has hit some roadblocks as each venue has issues which could put them off limits:
- Friends Arena (55.000 capacity, used by local soccer teams, booked for Taylor Swift concerts on May 17 and 18)
- Tele2 Arena (35,000 capacity, also used by local soccer teams during May)
- Avicci Arena (16,000 capacity, scheduled to have renovations in 2024).
So with all those balls in the air, seveal fan sites including Wiwibloggs and ESCToday have reported that Stockholm City Council wants to build a temporary pop-up arena at a cruise ship port in Frihammen, just outside of the CBD. It will reportedly have room for 11,000-15,000 fans and also be used for other events after Eurovision before being dismantled.
As for the other cities, Gothenburg's bid honchos have claimed they are "more than ready" to host, and reportedly addressed concerns about the Scandinavium's low roof being not up to competition standard. Malmö is also confident of its chances with its arena ready to go after hosting Eurovision a decade ago, while Örnsköldsvik, despite being a small town, is planning to have cruise ships dock in its harbour to house the extra visitors coming to the contest.
Eurovision is traditionally held in May and often in the middle of the month. If SVT follows this formula in 2024, that means the dates would be either May 7 and 9 (semi-finals) with the Grand Final on Saturday, May 11 - or a week later with May 14 and 16 (semi-finals) and the Grand Final on Saturday, May 18. Based on reports by Swedish outlet Aftonbladet, these appear to be the preferred dates.
Additionally, Taylor Swift announced she would be playing in Stockholm at Friends Arena on 17 and 18 May. If Stockholm were to host, it could be a very busy weekend if the Grand Final was on the 18th. If it is in Stockholm, a May 11 Grand Final would make much more sense.
Is Australia going to be competing?
It's the big question we all want answered - but there has yet to be an announcement if Australia will return to Eurovision next year. Our five year contract with the EBU, from 2019 to 2023, ended this year. Although, it must be noted from 2015 to 2018, Australia was invited on a yearly basis. Hopefully Voyager's epic performance and Top 10 finish was not our last hurrah.
Which city is favourite?
As mentioned earlier, in any other year, Stockholm would have a huge edge. And Eurovision's queen and winner of this year's contest, Loreen, has reportedly expressed her wish for the contest to be held there.
But the race is wide open with only Örnsköldsvik looking like an unlikely option. According to UK sports betting website OLBG, Stockholm and Gothenburg are joint favourites, both rated as a 40 per cent likely chance, while many believe Malmö has the biggest chance.
Be sure to stay tuned to Aussievision this week as we potentially find out who will be the host city for Eurovision 2024.
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