Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have been named as potential hosts for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest when it is held in the UK for the first time in 25 years.
Scott Mills announced the seven candidate cities live on Zoë Ball’s Radio 2 breakfast show.
This year’s Eurovision was won in Turin by the Kalush Orchestra, representing Ukraine. That would normally mean Ukraine would host in 2023, which its government wanted to happen, but in June the European Broadcasting Union announced that next year’s contest could not be held there because of the war.
Instead, the United Kingdom, which came second with Sam Ryder’s song Man from spacewas asked to host the 67th edition of Eurovision.
About twenty spaces came forward to host the biggest and most complex music competition in the world, seen this year by a global audience of 161 million.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, he tweeted: “It must be Glasgow!”
His sentiment was echoed by bookmakers, with William Hill put the city at 4/5 odds as favourites.
Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow city council, said she was delighted. “Delivering such a unique event in such a short space of time presents a challenge, but Glasgow has an unrivaled track record of successfully hosting major global events and we are confident that we can present a Eurovision that reflects a true celebration of Ukrainian culture.”
Birmingham, which was the last UK host city in 1998 when Dana International won, is the second favorite. Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham city council, expressed his delight. “This is a sanctuary city, a city that has welcomed people from all over the world and made their home here. We would love to have the honor of hosting, on behalf of Ukraine, the Eurovision Song Contest next year.”
One of the outsiders, if the bookies’ odds are to be believed, is Sheffield, who has pledged to “throw the kitchen sink” to win.
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Ben Miskell, a Sheffield city councilor who is helping to lead his city’s bid, said: “The euphoria is ringing across South Yorkshire. We are proud to fly the flag in solidarity with Ukraine and look forward to the EBU lighting up Sheffield and making our region their No.1.”
Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said there was “nowhere more qualified, more experienced or better suited” to host Eurovision than Liverpool.
“Liverpool wouldn’t be Liverpool without music, and music wouldn’t be music without Liverpool,” he said.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, he tweeted: “Leeds & Leeds & Leeds & Leeds… we’re ready.” She said: “It’s an amazing city, full of vibrant creativity and would shine if given the chance to host this event.”
In Newcastle, the said Councilman Alexander Hay he was “absolutely ecstatic” at the news. “I look forward to continuing to work with partners, hotels and organizations across the city to bring this offering together.”
Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, he said his city was excited. “Manchester is set to host the UK’s biggest party at the city’s AO Arena, taking our place in Eurovision’s unique history.”
Missing from the shortlist were previous hosts London, Brighton and Edinburgh. Others who didn’t make it were Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Nottingham, Wolverhampton and Darlington, which was thought to be the only city to throw its hat in the ring.
The BBC said a final decision on the site would be made in the autumn.
It had invited bids that met criteria such as having a venue with a capacity of at least 10,000 people, being within easy reach of an international airport and having a spacious hotel.
Cardiff had been a candidate but withdrew as it would have meant canceling “a significant number” of other events next spring.
This is likely to be a problem for whichever city wins due to the need to use the venue for weeks of rehearsals before the semi-finals and final.