In case you missed the headline from today’s news from the world of Eurovision: organisers have decided that due to the logistics of putting together the competition, there’s no way the 2023 contest can be held in this year’s winning nation, Ukraine. With the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine making hosting duties unfeasible, it looks like 2022’s runner-up will be asked to host – and yes, still quite unbelievably, that’s the UK. Not only that, but the contest could be held very close to home, as Leeds City Council has confirmed they will bid to host the show!
In a joint statement earlier today, Leeds City Council leader James Lewis and LCC’s executive member for economy and culture Jonathan Pryor, confirmed the bid. “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”, the duo stated, and we’re already excited about the prospect.
With a capacity of almost 14,000, first direct arena would be a suitably large venue for the show, and probably trump Glastonbury as the hottest music ticket in town next year, were the bid to be successful. The councillors noted that the contest would coincide with the Leeds 2023 culture celebrations, and that ASM Global already had experience of helping organise the contest, having worked on the 2016 show in Stockholm.
They went on to note their intent to pay homage to Ukraine as the reigning champions, saying “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.” There’s a long way to go before this becomes a reality – Eurovision fan speculation has already identified Glasgow’s Ovo Hydro Arena as a strong potential host – but wouldn’t it be incredible to see the best of Europe come to Leeds?