The BBC is in talks to hosting next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Glasgow after the organisers ruled out this year’s winners Ukraine due to the ongoing war with Russia.
Eurovision is usually hosted each year by the country that won the previous competition. This year, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra swept to victory, while the UK’s Sam Ryder came second.
And this morning, the Eurovision Broadcasting Union said it would not be able to host the 2023 competition Ukraine because it could not give “security and operational guarantees” after Russia invaded in February.
In a statement, the Eurovision Broadcasting Union said: “Given the ongoing war since the Russian invasion of this year’s winning country, the EBU has taken the time to conduct a full assessment and feasibility study with both UA:PBC and third-party specialists including on safety and security issues.
“Following objective analysis, the Reference Group, the ESC’s governing board, has with deep regret concluded that, given the current circumstances, the security and operational guarantees required for a broadcaster to host, organize and produce the Eurovision Song Contest under the ESC Rules cannot be fulfilled by UA:PBC.”
It added: “As a result of this decision, in accordance with the rules and to ensure the continuity of the event, the EBU will now begin discussions with the BBC, as this year’s runner up, to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom.”
The BBC has been quietly preparing for the possibility of the UK being asked to stage the event, i understands.
There has been speculation that Glasgow’s OVO Hydro arena could be the venue for Eurovision 2023 next May.
The cost of staging Eurovision is around £25m with around £5m granted from the EBU to the host broadcaster.
Although a substantial cost for the BBC, insiders say the broadcaster was prepared to stage Eurovision in the event that the UK won, having placed second with Ryder in Turin.
With 11 million viewers watching this year’s final on BBC One, Eurovision remains one of the broadcaster’s most popular events, justifying the extra outlay.
If the event is staged in Glasgow, the Scottish Government could provide financial assistance.