Eurovision reignites a friendly War of the Roses

On Friday it was announced that the UK could host Eurovision after the show’s organisers said that the 2023 event would not be able to held in the winning country, Ukraine, after conducting a full assessment and feasibility study.

Following the news there’s been lots of speculation online about where the iconic event could be held with two Northern cities both throwing their names in to the hat and volunteering for the honour.

Leeds, which next year will host a year long celebration of culture was one of the suggestions, while Manchester with its heritage of music was another.

In a joint statement councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council and councillor 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.

“We are extremely disappointed that Ukraine will be unable to host in 2023, but it would be an honour to host on behalf of them, especially given that West Yorkshire is home to a large number of Ukrainians. If we are successful with our bid, we will be looking to get the local Ukrainian community involved with our plans as much as possible.”

While on the other side of the Pennines Sacha Lord, the co-creator of Warehouse Project and night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester tweeted: “Bringing Eurovision 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.”

Plenty of others have shown their support including Sinead Rocks, Channel 4’s managing director for Nations and Regions, who responded to a tweet by BBC TV critic Scott Bryan who asked where should host the next Eurovision and simply said “Leeds_2023” which is the twitter handle for the city’s year of culture.

Whichever location receives the nod to host Eurovision it will both cost a significant sum -Sweden’s national broadcaster set aside £11m for the 2016 show. But the contest also offers significant economic benefits.

Eurovision tourism is valued in the millions with 2015’s host city, Vienna, reportedly generating £22m from 30,000 visitors. The economic boost is also felt by jobs, with Azerbaijan spending £48m when it hosted the contest and built theBaku Crystal Hall which in turn created over 500 full time jobs.

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