Eurovision 2023: Glasgow and Liverpool await decision on UK host cityon October 7, 2022 at 10:57 am

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Glasgow and Liverpool will find out on Friday which will stage the Eurovision Song Contest next May.

Sam RyderImage source, Getty Images

Glasgow and Liverpool will find out later on Friday which of the two cities has been chosen to host the Eurovision Song Contest next May.

The spectacular music show will be staged in the UK after this year’s winner, Ukraine, was unable to take up hosting duties because of the war.

Twenty UK locations initially expressed an interest, and they have since been narrowed down to just two.

The announcement will be made on BBC One’s The One Show from 19:00 BST.

Previewing the announcement, BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce said: “The finish line is finally in sight, because I can confirm that on the One Show tonight, Graham Norton will finally reveal which city will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.

“He’ll also tell us the date of the grand final,” Bruce confirmed.

The UK has hosted Eurovision eight times in the past, most recently in Birmingham in 1998. But the contest has never been to Liverpool or Glasgow.

The chosen location will attract thousands of visitors and be in the global spotlight, with around 160 million TV viewers around the world watching this year’s show live.

Liverpool’s leaders have said they would host the event “on behalf of Ukraine”, while a Glasgow spokesperson said a Scottish Eurovision would also be “a celebration of Ukraine”.

A winning country normally hosts the following year’s contest, but Essex singer Sam Ryder’s second-placed finish this May led the UK to be asked to step in for 2023.

Glasgow calling?


Image source, Getty Images

Glasgow was a bookies’ favourite from the off, with its OVO Hydro venue having a capacity of 14,300.

The arena would be a fitting setting in some ways after being filmed for the exterior of the venue in Will Ferrell’s 2020 Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.

And of course, Glasgow’s Lulu won the 1969 Contest with Boom Bang-a-Bang. She says it’s “the perfect place… and it’s about time”.

Fellow Glaswegian Scott Fitzgerald came second in 1988 when he was beaten to the top spot by none other than Celine Dion.

Crowds outside Glasgow's OVO Hydro arena

Image source, Jeff Holmes

The leader of Glasgow City Council said the city had “everything it takes” to host Eurovision.

“The competition has been very strong but Glasgow has an unrivalled track record for successfully hosting major global events,” Susan Aitken said.

The city centre venue is also next to exhibition centres that could be useful for facilities like a press centre, and has a nearby station and hotels. It has previously hosted BBC Sports Personality of the Year and events during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Or douze points to Liverpool?


Image source, Getty Images

The home of The Beatles has a rich musical history that attracts thousands of international visitors every year. Its past major events have included the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2008.

Sonia, who was born near Liverpool, came second in the contest back in 1993 with Better the Devil You Know. The city has also been represented by Jemini, who sadly got nul points in 2003.

Eurovision would be staged at the 11,000-capacity dockside M&S Bank Arena, which is next to a conference centre and near the city centre’s hotels and rail links.

Aerial shot of Liverpool's waterfront including the M&S Bank Arena and adjoining exhibition centre

Image source, Ant Clausen

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson said she was “absolutely delighted” the city had made the final two.

“Nowhere throws a party quite like us,” she tweeted. “The people, communities & businesses of our city are ready to put on a show – for Ukraine, the UK & for Europe.”

Short presentational grey line

The shortlisted cities were scored on a set of criteria including:

  • Having a suitable venue and sufficient space to deliver the requirements of the Song Contest
  • The commitment that can be made by a city or region to hosting the event, including the financial contribution
  • The strength of the cultural offer which includes off screen local and regional activity as well as showcasing Ukrainian culture and music
  • Alignment with the BBC’s strategic priorities as a public service broadcaster, such as providing value to all audiences and supporting the creative economy in the UK.

Eurovision organisers say a host venue should accommodate about 10,000 spectators, be within easy reach of an international airport and have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and ticket-buyers.

The venue will be needed for preparations for six to eight weeks ahead of the song contest, meaning the host city will need to move concerts and events that are already in their schedules.

That could include the likes of Sir Elton John, who has concerts in Liverpool on 22 and 23 April, and the Magic Mike arena tour, which is booked for both cities in late April.

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