UNITED KINGDOM – With the EBU statement taking the Eurovision 2023 hosting from Ukraine and the BBC confirming discussions for hosting the event, the entire country started expressing interest to host the event.
Cardiff boasts one of the largest roofed arenas in the United Kingdom! That arena is Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Welsh Rugby and Football teams, as well as many global superstars, call Cardiff home. It has to be given serious consideration. This would be the largest venue ever used for the competition. These individuals appear to believe so, including Welsh Conservative leaders, the leader of Cardiff Council, and a Welsh Labour MP for Cardiff!
The EBU, which organises the annual competition, said it was in talks with the BBC to host it instead of Ukraine, after determining that the war-torn country was unable to do so. Although no final decision on the host city has been made, regional leaders have indicated that their city is best suited to host. As a result, the table includes a total of 12 cities, including Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and many more… The event could take place at the massive 20,000-person capacity O2 Arena. The O2 Arena, built to commemorate the millennium, is located in East London, almost entirely surrounded by the River Thames. In addition, an imposing stage could be built inside the 12,500-capacity OVO Wembley Arena. As soon as the news broke, London’s Mayor tweeted, “Londonians would welcome Eurovision with open arms.” Mr Khan is very enthusiastic about London’s application and believes that his city represents the entire United Kingdom.
Within hours of the EBU confirming that the UK, rather than Ukraine, could potentially host Eurovision 2023. Politicians and local news outlets across the country have banded together to declare why their city is the best candidate. The United Kingdom’s second city, no stranger to the competition and hosting major international events, put forward their case. Even creating the host city bid slogan, ‘Bring It To Birmingham,’ as well as a petition on the Birmingham Conservatives website.
Cllr Robert Alden, (Birmingham City Council)
“Birmingham is proud to be a leading City of Sanctuary in the U.K and with thousands turning out to show their support for Ukraine in a vigil, the people of Birmingham would welcome the opportunity to show solidarity with Ukraine and step in to be the host. Brummies have been welcoming Ukrainians this year as part of the Homes for Ukrainians Scheme, with plans for up to 1000 to relocate here and it would be great to see all those who now call Birmingham home given free tickets. It also makes great sense as the City is well known for hosting large-scale international events and its position as Commonwealth Games hosts this year, best places Birmingham as the frontrunner.”
Despite stiff competition, it would be appropriate for Sheffield to host Eurovision 2023. Since the 1950s, the city has been twinned with Donetsk in Ukraine, as both are known for their mining and steel heritage. In addition, Sheffield has a street named after its twin city. Sheffield, like almost every other city in the United Kingdom, may look to support a bid to bring Eurovision to South Yorkshire. Councillors Ben Miskell and Minesh Parekh are among those who have expressed an interest on Twitter. According to Mirror’s Whitehall Correspondent Mikey Smith, the Utilita Arena has a capacity of over 13,000 people and has hosted everything from concerts to ice hockey games. Furthermore, the arena has 5 hotel partners, giving visitors a variety of options for where to stay during Eurovision week. While Doncaster Sheffield Airport is the closest airport, you can still take a taxi to the city in less than 30 minutes. Leeds Bradford Airport and East Midlands Airport are also less than an hour away from the arena.
Manchester is the largest metropolitan area in the UK that has not previously hosted Eurovision, as London and Birmingham have both done so. London hosted the contest in 1960, 1963, 1968, and 1977, while Birmingham hosted the most recent contest in the UK in 1998. The Manchester AO Arena is the city’s main arena, with a capacity of 21,000, the highest of any indoor venue in the UK and the second-largest in Europe, making for a massive Eurovision. However, it is a busy venue with shows already scheduled for next May, so hosting there would have to overcome rescheduling issues. A new arena, the Co-op Live, is also being built in Manchester, with a capacity of 23,000 people. The current proposed opening date, however, is December 2023. As a result, it is unlikely that this location will be ready on time. Many more film studios, music venues, and sporting venues are possible throughout the city. There are, of course, the BBC studios at MediaCityUK, which have a 6,500-person event capacity. The 02 Apollo Manchester has a seating capacity of 3,500 people. Manchester also hosts large open-air concerts in various sporting stadiums and parks on a regular basis, though this would be a significant departure from Eurovision norms. In the absence of an official bid, statements from various figures in Manchester’s government, including Night Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord and Leader of the City of Manchester Bev Craig, have been made. Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, retweeted Craig. They emphasise Manchester’s music culture and the advantages of bringing a large international competition to their city. Manchester would have no trouble making connections because Manchester Airport is the third busiest in the UK. It’s also the busiest airport outside of London, with flights all over Europe. It would also benefit BBC infrastructure, as a large portion of their operations is based in Salford, Greater Manchester, one of the BBC’s main national bases. This includes the BBC Eurovision production team, which recently relocated to Greater Manchester.
Brighton, the site of ABBA’s Eurovision victory has confirmed that they will be bidding to bring the Song Contest back to the city. The confirmation comes after the EBU announced today that Ukraine would not host in 2023 and that discussions would now commence with the BBC.
Speaking to The Argus, the leader of the Council stated:
Of course, it was in Brighton and Hove that ABBA launched their global career when they won with Waterloo at the Brighton Dome in 1974. We’d love to see the event come back to the city and share some of our lucky stardust with the next global superstars. We will now approach the European Broadcasting Union and the BBC to formally express our interest. We know that many other cities will be interested in hosting and we look forward to hearing which city will be successful. After all, as ABBA have said, the winner takes it all.
Nicola Sturgeon, who’s a member of the Scottish National Party, has said she would be happy for Scotland to host Eurovision next year. As potential city, Sturgeon was keen to immediately suggest Glasgow. The city is not the capital of Scotland, despite being the biggest city with approximately 600,000 inhabitants. Sturgeon suggests a location on the banks of the Clyde, which can only mean one thing. As a result, the OVO Hydro would be proposed as the next Eurovision Song Contest venue. It can hold up to 14,300 people as a concert venue. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Glasgow’s OVO Hydro was the world’s second best-selling music venue, trailing only Madison Square Garden in New York. Since the United Kingdom emerged as a potential host of the Eurovision Song Contest, Glasgow has been on many people’s lips. Eurovision has previously visited Scotland, with Edinburgh hosting the competition in 1972. Glasgow also has an international airport and is comparable in size to Rotterdam, which hosted the competition in 2021.
Liverpool, England’s only UNESCO City of Music, launched its bid today to host the Eurovision Song Contest. The city has stated that it will develop plans for potential venues and opportunities to incorporate Ukrainian culture into city events. The city is famous around the world for being the birthplace of the Beatles, as well as hosting music festivals such as Africa Oyé, Liverpool International Music Festival, and Sound City. The city, which has a population of just under 500,000 people, is well-known for its iconic music venues and cultural events. Liverpool John Lennon Airport connects the city to the rest of the world.
The Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson stated:
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and would like the opportunity for Liverpool to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest and in doing so pay tribute to their wonderful country. We are an events city and no one can stage a party like us. Culture is synonymous with Liverpool and we tick all the boxes to be next year’s host – great venues, enviable experience, a world-renowned music heritage, UNESCO City of Music status and of course the warm Scouse welcome that just can’t be beaten. The event would become a beacon of hope around the world and we hope that Liverpool as an unrivalled music brand is given serious consideration by the decision-makers.”
Leeds has become one of the first cities in the UK to express interest in hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023. The City Council announcement comes after the EBU announced today that Ukraine will not host in 2023 and that discussions with the BBC will now begin. Councillor James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s leader, and Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy and culture, issued the following statement:
“It goes without saying that Leeds will be bidding to host Eurovision in 2023. Together with ASM Global, the operators of the First Direct Arena in Leeds, we have already been in touch with both the Government and the BBC to discuss our plans. Leeds has already proved that it has the capability and capacity to host major international events and ASM Global successfully hosted Eurovision in the Avicii Arena, Stockholm Sweden in 2016. Given that we will be mid-way through the Leeds 2023 year of culture, it could not come at a better time. We are extremely disappointed that Ukraine will be unable to host in 2023, but it would be an honour to host on our behalf of them, especially given that West Yorkshire is home to a large number of Ukrainians. If we are successful with our bid, we will be looking to get the local Ukrainian community involved with our plans as much as possible.”
Belfast councillors Anthony Flynn and Seamas De Faoite have written to Belfast City Council and Visit Belfast chief executives requesting that their city be considered for hosting the 67th Eurovision Song Contest. The Green Party and SDLP councillors state in their letter that Belfast is already well-equipped to host the competition and has a successful history of hosting global events.
“We are writing to you to urge that Belfast City Council and Visit Belfast play a full part in promoting Belfast as the UK destination for hosting Eurovision 2023. Belfast is already well equipped to host an event like Eurovision, with the appropriate venue capacity and accommodation available, as well as transport links around the city and beyond. The Eurovision song contest is watched by millions of fans around the world and host countries often use the opportunity to promote their countryside, towns and cities beyond the host city limits, so not only would this be a huge opportunity for Belfast, but also for the whole of Northern Ireland to be shown off on the world stage. 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. We believe it is time for Belfast to take centre stage again in 2023, and we can get Douze points!”
Following news that the BBC is considering hosting the competition next year, local MPs and MSPs have urged the BBC to consider Aberdeen as a potential host city for the Eurovision Song Contest. Three members of the Scottish Parliament and three members of the UK Parliament have written to the BBC’s Chief Executive outlining their reasons for believing Aberdeen should host the contest. The P&J Live complex in Aberdeen can hold up to 15,000 people, making it the fifth-largest indoor arena in the United Kingdom. Aberdeen, Scotland’s third-largest city, has a population of just under 200,000 people. Aberdeen International Airport connects the city to the rest of the world, serving destinations ranging from Norway to Spain.
Wolverhampton, in England’s West Midlands, is the final city aiming to host Eurovision 2023. Claire Darke, the city’s former mayor, advocated for the Contest’s relocation in a press release. Ms Darke also mentions potential venues for the show in the release, including Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Molineux Stadium. She also highlights the city’s vocal talent, mentioning rock band Led Zeppelin and former One Direction member Liam Payne.
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