Glasgow, London and Manchester among cities pitching for Eurovision
Glasgow, London and Manchester are among cities to have thrown their hats into the ring to host the Eurovision Song Contest if it comes to the UK next year.
The European Broadcasting Union, which produces the annual event, said it is in talks with the BBC about it hosting in place of Ukraine, after it concluded the war-torn country was unable to do so.
No final decision has been made but a number of regional figures have suggested their city is best suited to play host.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “Londoners would welcome Eurovision with open arms.
“We’re ready to step up and support Ukraine by hosting a contest that pays tribute to and honours the Ukrainian people, and also celebrates the very best of Britain too.”
The event could take place at either the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena or the 12,500-capacity OVO Wembley Arena.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon voiced her support for Glasgow as the home of the contest.
She said on Twitter: “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.”
The OVO Hydro arena in Glasgow is rumoured to be a favourite location to host the contest for the UK.
In a second tweet, Ms Sturgeon added: “Indeed there may be several possible venues in Scotland – let’s discuss!!”
Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and co-founder of Parklife festival, added: “Bringing @Eurovision @bbceurovision to Greater Manchester 2023, would be huge for our city region.
“We’re globally known for our music and I’m confident the right people would give it the full support, to make this happen.”
Welsh Labour MP Kevin Brennan backed Cardiff, tweeting: “Clearly Eurovision should be held at the Principality Stadium (roof closed) Cardiff with 70,000 partygoers – no brainer.”
Scottish National Party MSP for Aberdeen Central, Kevin Stewart, described his city as “the place to be”.
“Our city would be immense Eurovision hosts,” he added.
Representatives of Leeds said the city had already been in contact with the Government and BBC about a bid for the contest.
A joint statement from James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, and Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy and culture, said: “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.”
The UK has hosted the contest in London four times (1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977), and once in Edinburgh (1972), Brighton (1974), Harrogate (1982) and Birmingham (1998).