Liverpool in final shortlist to host Eurovision 2023

Liverpool's St George's Hall lit in support of Ukraine

Liverpool is in a run-off with Glasgow to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.

It means Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield have missed out on the chance to stage the competition next May.

The BBC is expected to announce the winning bid “within weeks”.

Announcing the final shortlist, it said Liverpool and Glasgow had “the strongest overall offer”.

The winning location is expected to attract thousands of visitors and around 160 million TV viewers.

The decision followed official presentations by shortlisted host cities last week.

Ukraine’s entry from Kalush Orchestra, Stefania, won this year’s contest and usually the winning country hosts the following year. But it was decided by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), that next year’s contest could not be held in Ukraine due to the ongoing war with Russia.

Following the difficult decision to find an alternative home for the 2023 competition, Liverpool stepped forward and offered to stage the event in solidarity with, and in tribute to Ukraine and its people.

Liverpool City Council and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have been working with partners across the city region to produce a detailed bid, outlining why Liverpool could host the biggest song competition in the world.

As part of the process, judges have looked at venues, transport links, funding and past experience of hosting major events – and with Liverpool and Glasgow both designated UNESCO Cities of Music, there’s still all to play for.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said: “I’m so thrilled to hear Liverpool’s hopes of hosting Eurovision have moved a big step closer.

“We all know our city is great at hosting big events – nobody throws a party like Liverpool – and the judges at Eurovision agree.

“From The Beatles, to Cream, to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – Liverpool always moves to its own beat – and hosting Eurovision would write a brand-new chapter in our musical heritage.”

She added: “In the short term, however, it will be a huge boost to the local economy and will also provide a platform to sustain jobs well into the future.”

“We are so proud to have the backing of our sister city in Ukraine – Odesa – and it would be a privilege to host Eurovision 2023 on behalf of them and the people of Ukraine.”

She said: “Glasgow is a great city and so I don’t envy the judges who have to decide between us, but for me there is no city anywhere in Europe which would make a more perfect home for Eurovision than Liverpool.”

Claire McColgan, Director of Culture Liverpool, said: “The process of bidding for Eurovision has once again shown why Liverpool is such a brilliant event city.

“Partners from across the region – from hoteliers to the police, ACC Liverpool to the local hospitals – have got behind our plans and really stepped up to help bring this to the city.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “It’s unsurprising that Liverpool has made it to the final two to host Eurovision because there’s nowhere better qualified or more fitting to host it than here in the UK’s cultural capital.

“Our reputation as a music heavyweight is unmatched. Not only are we a UNESCO City of Music, but no region in the UK has had more number one hits.

“We’ve shown time and time again that nowhere can throw a party quite like us – we’re ready to roll the red carpet out for a Eurovision celebration that the world will never forget.”

Phil Harrold, the chair of the BBC’s Host City Selection Committee, said: “The Eurovision Song Contest is a very complex event and Liverpool and Glasgow have the strongest overall offer – we will continue our discussions with them to determine the eventual host city.”

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