Liverpool's 11,000-cap M&S Bank Arena was picked ahead of Glasgow's OVO Hydro to stage the final on 13 May next year
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The team at M&S Bank Arena reflect on a whirlwind week hosting the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine
By IQ on 22 May 2023
As the final sequins are swept up and the outfits packed away, we’re reflecting on a whirlwind week for our venue and city.
It was an honour to be chosen to host Eurovision ’23 on behalf of Ukraine, and in the same year as we celebrate our 15th anniversary. From the moment Liverpool was announced as the host city, we knew this would be an event like no other and would require a massive effort from our teams, in a very short timescale. But delivering fantastic events is what we do best and we were ready to rise to the challenge.
It was a huge collaboration between our teams and service partners, working closely with the BBC; EBU; Culture Liverpool; Combined Authority; DCMS and Merseyside Police.
The event utilised the whole campus, with the live shows taking place in the arena, the convention centre hosting the delegation bubble and dressing rooms, and crew catering, media centre and hospitality in the exhibition centre. The event build was extensive, with the BBC taking tenancy from 27 March and technical rehearsals starting in April.
There were 12 shows in total, nine of which were open to the public. The staging for the live shows involved more than 600 rigging points, 140 tons of steel ground support structure, and 1KM of additional steel truss work. It featured eight miles of cabling for lighting, sound, video and SFX, over 2,000 specialist lighting fixtures, 200 custom staging decks, 950sqm of staging for the main stage, and 500sqm of staging for the green room.
The grand final smashed viewing figures, with a record breaking 180 million tuning in
Outside of the campus, an additional 500,000 visitors flocked to the city during the two-week period to soak up wider events including a Eurovision Village, art commissions at a Eurofestival, glittering open ceremony and numerous community and school engagement programmes.
The grand final smashed viewing figures, with a record breaking 180 million tuning in, making it the most viewed final in Eurovision history. Both audience and client feedback has been outstanding, with the European Broadcasting Union hailing this year’s event as ‘the best production and host city we have ever seen’.
The impact of Eurovision 2023 will become clear in coming months. There are already some key legacy projects emerging, including the development of a Eurovision music legacy fund driven by the Liverpool City Region Music Board, which will support local grassroots artists. We are also engaging with TikTok, who was the official entertainment partner of the contest, to platform the local music scene.
As a UNESCO City of Music, we want to fully embrace the slogan United by Music. Eurovision has been a living, breathing example of the power of live events. For us, it is the culmination of the challenging journey that we, like so many others in our industry, have been on since 2020. From lobbying the government to support the events industry and acknowledge the power of live experiences, to welcoming one of the biggest events in the world to the UK, our industry has achieved so much. It has been a privilege to be at the heart of this phenomenal global event and we are excited for the next chapter of our incredible journey.
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