Liverpool’s Eurovision tops the charts with £55m boost to the economy

Eurovision Village (Liverpool City Council)

Liverpool’s hosting of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, on behalf of Ukraine, boosted the city region’s coffers by almost £55m.

New research into the impact of the global event on the region has revealed its findings, which will be discussed at a one-day Eurovision event taking place at ACC Liverpool today (October 26).

In a first for any Eurovision Song Contest host city, a multi-agency evaluation steering group, led by Liverpool City Council, commissioned in-depth, independent evaluations, the interim results of which will be announced today by council leader, Cllr Liam Robinson and Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram.

The reports looked at the economic and social impact of staging the event, as well as the influence on cultural relations, the impact on wellbeing in the city and the wider city region, the visitor experience and the effectiveness of the strategic collaboration between delivery agencies.

Findings show that Eurovision boosted the Liverpool City Region economy by £54.8m, with restaurants, accommodation providers, shops, bars and transport networks all benefiting.

In total 473,000 people attended Eurovision events in the city, with 306,000 additional visitors heading to Liverpool to be part of the celebrations.

In May, 175,000 city centre hotel rooms were sold – the best month on record since 2018.

The education and community programmes, EuroStreet and EuroLearn, engaged with 367 organisations and directly with 50,000 people, young and old. The overall programme is estimated to have reached two million people.

EuroFestival – the Culture Liverpool-curated two week culture festival – presented 24 brand new commissions, 19 of which were in collaboration with Ukrainian artists. A huge 328,346 people engaged with this programme – 557 artists, 1,750 participants involved in a commission and an audience number of 326,039.

The official Eurovision Village, located at the Pier Head attracted 250,000 visitors across the 10 days it was open, with the ticketed final selling out within hours.

Visitors to Liverpool reported an overwhelmingly positive experience.

In a survey, 89% of those questioned, felt it was a safe event and 88% praised its inclusivity.

A huge 96% of those surveyed would recommend Liverpool as a destination to visit and 42% of overseas visitors said the city’s staging of the event had a positive impact on how they viewed the UK.

The official Eurovision Fan Club carried out a survey and found that 99% of their members felt welcomed in the city and 98% loved the undeniable festival atmosphere.

There was a huge amount of pride around Liverpool being the host city, with 80% of residents noting how important it was for Liverpool and a further 93% saying they were pleased with how the city delivered the event.

Of those questioned, 74% were enthusiastic about Liverpool hosting on behalf of Ukraine and 71% felt that the city’s leading role promoted positive feelings across all of the participating nations.

An impressive 475 people provided 12,000 hours of volunteering, covering 350 shifts. The majority (90%) were from the North West of England, and 30 were Ukrainian.

Also, a Eurovision job recruitment fair saw 394 jobs offered in one day.

Lime Street platform 9

A partnership between the BBC and Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts saw 145 students become part of the Eurovision production – in roles such as on stage dancers in the live shows, costume makers or in the TV production team.

Between the period of October 2022, when Liverpool was announced as host city, until the end of May 2023, more than 280,000 pieces of global news coverage were generated. The three live BBC shows were watched by 162 million people.

The research also showed that more than 50,000 tonnes of waste was collected throughout the Eurovision period, 80% of which could be recycled.

Cllr Liam Robinson said: “The whirlwind that was Eurovision, gave this city an unparalleled stage where it could showcase not just its organisational prowess, but also its heart and soul.

“From the outset, we put plans in place to evaluate everything we programmed in order to have a thorough understanding of the impact of major events.

“The visitor and economic figures speak for themselves – jobs were created, local businesses were on the receiving end of a much needed boost and hundreds of thousands of people came to the city, had a great time and are more than likely to return again.”

He added: “Knowing the financials and the visitor numbers is always a great indicator of success, but with Eurovision we wanted to do more. As the first host city ever to introduce a school and community programme dedicated to Eurovision, we needed to drill into what that really meant for people – did it make a positive difference to their lives and as a result to our city?

“Never before has any other location commissioned such a detailed analysis, and it goes without saying that our methodology can be adopted by locations across the world which is a real badge of honour for Liverpool.”

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “There was never a doubt in my mind as to whether our region was up to the challenge of hosting a global spectacle like Eurovision on behalf of our friends in Ukraine – because nowhere does culture bigger or better than the Liverpool City Region.

“From the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flocked to our region for a fortnight of fun and frivolity, to the tens of millions around the world who tuned in, we gave millions of people a Eurovision they will never forget.

“While that’s an incredible result in itself, the contest was also a vital shot in the arm for our local economy, bringing in more than £54m, creating thousands of jobs and opportunities for local people and showcasing our brand to an international audience.”

Liverpool’s Director of Culture, Claire McColgan, said: “We experienced this Eurovision-high as a result of cultural back catalogue.

“We have spent years working towards what we all experienced in May – we cut our teeth during our European Capital of Culture year and from that point we have grown exponentially in confidence and ability as year-on-year we continue to deliver events that rival any other on the world stage.

“The pandemic was a real line in the sand for us, and undoubtedly Liverpool’s role in leading the charge on the reopening of venues nationwide made us stand out from the crowd – we are recognised as a city that can deliver unforgettable moments, safely, quickly and with a scouse panache that simply can’t be replicated anywhere else.

“Quite simply, it was an honour to deliver Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine and the UK.

“I’d like to say to everyone – whether you worked on the event, donned those iconic yellow hoodies and volunteered, performed on stage or on our streets, danced at the Village, sang along at the arena or perhaps you discovered more about Ukraine in the classroom or even helped evaluate the event – thank you.”

Eurovision Minister, Stuart Andrew, said: “It is fantastic to see the impact that hosting the Eurovision Song Contest has had on Liverpool. The city put on a fantastic display of culture and creativity, showing solidarity with our friends in Ukraine and highlighting what unites us all.

“This research demonstrates the positive impact of hosting major events and I hope that we can continue to build on this success.”

The independent reports were:

  • Economic Impact – Commissioned by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council. The research was compiled by AMION Consulting.
  • Community and Wellbeing – Commissioned by Liverpool City Council and funded by Spirit of 2012 and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The research was carried out by the University of Liverpool.
  • Cultural Diplomacy – Commissioned by Liverpool City Council and funded by British Council and DCMS. The British Council led on the research along with the University of Hull, and consultants from Universities of Brighton, Southampton and Royal Holloway (University of London).
  • Nightlife – Funded and compiled by Liverpool John Moores University.
  • Multi-Agency Working – Led by Edge Hill University.
  • Along with these reports, the BBC has commissioned its own Eurovision Highlights Report.

To bring together the findings of the reports, Liverpool City Council’s Public Health team commissioned The Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place to compile the headline findings. This comprehensive overview can be found at the Heseltine Institute website.