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The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the BBC have announced that next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the UK on behalf of Ukraine.
The BBC will act as host broadcaster of the 67th annual competition after the UK’s Sam Ryder came second this year.
The BBC has confirmed that the process to select the host city for the 2023 contest will begin this week.
It will manage the bidding along with the EBU and expects it to be completed by the autumn.
The BBC said relevant information for prospective hosts will be issued shortly and host cities wanting information packs should make contact via an allocated email address.
The UK has hosted the contest in London four times (1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977), and once each in Edinburgh (1972), Brighton (1974) and Harrogate (1982).
It last hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998 in Birmingham following Katrina And The Waves’ victory in Dublin with Love Shine A Light.
Hosting it in 2023 will make it the ninth time the competition has taken place in the UK – more than any other country.
This year, British hopeful Sam Ryder won over the audience with his uplifting pop song Space Man, taking second place in the competition in Turin, Italy.
The 32-year-old Tik Tok star topped the national jury vote with 283 points, beating favourites Spain and Sweden.
It was a stark contrast to 2021 UK entry James Newman, who scored zero points and came bottom of the leader board.
To date, the UK has won the Eurovision Song Contest five times – with Sandie Shaw’s Puppet On A String in 1967, Lulu’s Boom Bang A Bang in 1969, Brotherhood Of Man’s Save Your Kisses For Me in 1976, Bucks Fizz’s Making Your Mind Up in 1981, and Katrina And The Waves in 1997.
The UK holds the record for the longest run of consecutive appearances in the Grand Final – 59 – and has also finished second a record 15 times.
Hosting Eurovision can be expensive.
Azerbaijan spent a reported £48 million on hosting the event in 2012, and Hungary withdrew from competing in the 2010 contest in part due to the global financial crisis.
It is not clear whether the BBC will have to pay to host the contest from its current licence fee allocation or if it will be given further money.
It comes as the BBC needs to save a further £285 million in response to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’ announcement in January that the licence fee will be frozen for the next two years.
The UK already spends more on Eurovision than most participants.
It is part of the so-called big five alongside France, Germany, Italy and Spain, who each get a free pass to the Grand Final because of their financial contributions.
Ukraine will automatically qualify for the Grand Final in 2023 alongside the Big Five.
Liverpool has officially expressed its interesting in hosting Eurovision. The M&S Bank Arena seems like the perfect setting with a capacity of 11,000 and we are UNESCO City of Music after all.
With an enviable events calendar that features some of the best large-scale music activities – Africa Oyé, Liverpool International music Festival and Sound City to name a few, a diverse music scene and of course being home to one of the greatest bands ever with the Beatles, Liverpool’s music credentials are second to none.
“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.”
London’s O2 is a strong contender as the largest indoor arena in the capital.
The 20,000-capacity venue has hosted some of the biggest stars in the world, including Adele, Queen + Adam Lambert, Billie Eilish, The Rolling Stones, as well as events like the Brit Awards.
The OVO Arena Wembley could also be in contention as the second largest in London, with a capacity of 12,500.
A return to Brighton would be a nice homage to when the Brighton Dome hosted the event in 1974, when Abba won with Waterloo.
Venues within major UK cities such as Manchester or Newcastle could be considered in line with the Government’s “levelling up” plan.
The OVO Hydro in Glasgow could also host the contest for the UK as the largest entertainment venue in Scotland with a maximum capacity of 14,300.
Immediately following Monday’s announcement, Sheffield City Council and Manchester City Council both registered their interest in being hosts.
A tweet from Sheffield City Council said it has told Eurovision organisers the city would “love” to stage the contest.
The official account tweeted: “We’ve told Eurovision we’d love to host… watch this space.”
And Bev Craig, leader of Manchester City Council, tweeted: “Manchester will be bidding to host @Eurovision @bbceurovision. A world class music city, brilliant venues, experience in hosting major events, and of course one of the UK’s largest Ukrainian populations – we are confident we will make it a #eurovision to remember. More to follow.”
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