Eurovision 2023: BBC in talks to 'host next year’s contest in Glasgow' as Ukraine ruled out of hosting
The BBC is in talks to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in the UK, with Glasgow believed to be in strong contention to stage the musical extravaganza after organisers ruled out this year’s winners Ukraine due to the ongoing war with Russia.
There has been speculation that Glasgow’s OVO Hydro arena could be the venue for Eurovision 2023 next May, in the wake of Sam Ryder finishing runner-up for the UK at last month's final in Turin.
Nicola Sturgeon posted on social media the Scottish Government was “happy to discuss” hosting arrangements, saying she knew the “perfect venue” on the River Clyde for the event.
The Hydro has listings such as the Magic Mike arena tour on April 25, Andre Rieu on May 27 and Ozzy Osbourne: No More Tours from June 2-4, but no other shows booked for the month of May.
An SEC spokesperson said: “If Glasgow is being considered as a potential host city for the event, we’d be delighted to take part in that conversation.”
Aberdeen politicians are already leading a separate bid for the city’s P&J Live Arena to be awarded hosting rights. Six MPs and MSPs have written to BBC chief executive Tim Davie asking for Aberdeen to be considered.
It is understood the BBC had already been quietly preparing for the possibility of the UK being asked to stage the event before Friday’s announcement and is prepared to meet hosting costs.
The cost of staging Eurovision is around £25m, with around £5m granted from the EBU to the host broadcaster.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said following a “full assessment and feasibility study” it had concluded the “security and operational guarantees” required to host the event cannot be fulfilled by Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC.
In a statement posted online, the EBU thanked the UA:PBC for its “wholehearted co-operation and commitment in exploring all scenarios”, but shared its “sadness and disappointment” the contest could not be held in the war-torn country.
“The EBU has been supporting UA:PBC across a whole range of areas since the invasion,” the statement said. “We will ensure that this support continues so UA:PBC can maintain the indispensable service they provide to Ukrainians.
“As a result of this decision, in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuity of the event, the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner-up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom.
Ms Sturgeon welcomed reports linking Glasgow as the next host city.
She tweeted: “We wish @Eurovision could be in Ukraine, but understand that in circumstances this isn’t possible. However, I can think of a perfect venue on banks of the River Clyde!! @scotgov is happy to discuss with BBC, @GlasgowCC @EBU_HQ and others.”
Downing Street also welcomed the possibility of the UK hosting Eurovision, pledging to ensure it would “overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity”.
A No.10 spokesman said: “Ukraine’s victory in the Eurovision song contest was richly deserved and as the rightful winner, the Government’s firm wish has been to see next year’s contest hosted there.
“If the EBU decides the competition can’t go ahead in Ukraine, we would, of course, welcome the opportunity to work closely with Ukraine and the BBC to host it here in the UK.
“But we would be committed to ensuring it overwhelmingly reflects Ukraine’s rich culture, heritage and creativity, as well as building on the ongoing partnership between our two countries.”
Asked if the Government would help the BBC with costs, the spokesman said “we’re slightly getting ahead of ourselves in terms of the process”.
Katrina Leskanich, from UK entry Katrina And The Waves, who won Eurovision in 1997 with Love Shine A Light, tweeted: “Practically hysterical over the announcement that the UK could host #Eurovision.”
With 11 million viewers watching this year’s final on BBC One, Eurovision remains one of the broadcaster’s most popular events, justifying the extra outlay.
If the UK does host the contest in 2023, it would be the ninth time it has taken place here – more than any other country.