When Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT announced that Eurovision 2013 will take place in Malmö, fans were furious: the capacity of Malmö Arena, they shouted, is ‘only’ 15,500 seats. With the exception of hate crime statistics, the motto of Eurovision 2013 appears to be “less is more.” Further proof comes in SVT’s ridiculously small budget of €12 million.

“In recent years the contest was too big, everyone wanted to impress with big arenas but the artists almost disappeared in the arena, and they are the stars of the evening after all,” Christer Björkman, the head of Sweden’s Eurovision delegation, told Expressen. Damn right, Christer! It’s hard for artists to fill a stage with the area of a golf course (as in Baku, pictured at top). Knowing how tough it would be to compete with the stage, some artists didn’t even try. (Yes, we are looking at you, Sofi Marinova).

Eurovision 2013 will be held inside this concrete block.

Compared to the fat budgets at the disposal of other host cities, Sweden’s is noticeably slimmer. It’s €5 million cheaper than what Sweden’s Norwegian neighbors coughed up in 2010, and  around a quarter of the  €48 million Baku admits to spending. (It should be noted that some investigative journalists have suggested Baku sunk nearly $300 million into the event). But the Swedish budget is more than double the €6 million that SVT spent when hosting the contest in 2000. That’s not surprising. In the past decade Eurovision has added two semi-finals to its line-up, and the number of participating countries has doubled.

Nonetheless, Malmö 2013 will be a big step back in terms of the arenas we’ve seen in the last couple of years (though still impressive compared to many Eurovision arenas of old). Martin Österdahl, executive producer of next year’s show, has said the the Azeris saw Eurovision as a “prestige project.” The Swedes, however, want to “get back to the heart of the matter: a TV program”.

The Swedes are setting a great example in a time of austerity, and helping to reduce the fear felt in broadcasting rooms from Tallinn to Tirana. When a developed country like Sweden decides to host Eurovision on the cheap, that gives smaller countries like Albania and Estonia the hope that they can throw down a good show with a smaller budget, too.

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RogerL
Guest
RogerL

Take a look at the productions from the Melodifestivalen tour, they are used to do great productions in even smaller arenas than Malmö!

These were recorded in an ice hockey arena (6001 seats) in my home town

Searched for and included all performances so you can get the feel for a “complete show”
– what is missing from this production that can be archived in a bigger arena? (empty space?)
#1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1p3fsigF74
#2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGX70rjuKLc
#3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yALaadvE_ho
#4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-Dg_4Zbapg
#5
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHTZlaVZZd8
#6 (> 1.5 M views, did not qualify for final)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_HJZyy3-DA
#7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFgIfDHL1H4
#8 (Måns Zelmerlöv – will he host ESC?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXKtgP68QUk

Nirgal
Guest
Nirgal

What is really funny is that, if Azerbaiyan were the ones hosting it on a small venue and with a limited budget, everybody would be jumping at their throats and calling them terrible, cheap hosts who should never host again.

And it would be “minuscule” instead of “intimate”.

But since Sweden are the ones doing it, we need to use a different standard.

(BTW, it’s only hard to fill the stage if you don’t know how to do it. And if you don’t, you should go and ask Rona Nishliu how it’s done.)

Gavin
Guest

Been thinking this over for a few days, and i think its actually a great idea. Its been noticable for a while now, many countiries actually not sending fantastic songs, prehapse becaurse of a fear of winning. Winning should be a celebration and honour and not a forfeit of millions of pounds. Of course i want a great contest. A diverse stage. Lights… Camera and action but i think it can be achived without putting the host country in a difficult position. It would be amazing if the host country came out with a whopping proffit! I recently staged a… Read more »

Anthony Ko
Editor

Michael – WHAT!? You’re expecting every country that competes at the Eurovision Song Contest to do a Manchester City and spend €100-200 MILLION of oil money on hosting the contest in the future (providing they win of course)!? Okay, not actual oil money but it wouldn’t be possible for some countries that are taking part!

Michael
Guest
Michael

They’re totally wrong about everything… the contest should be held at Baku standards. It is no excuse for a Swedish broadcaster to hold it on a smaller budget. their national final is being held in a larger arena than the actual contest. They don’t have enough hotels in the city and they’ve taken the wrong approach to everything.

Vinnie
Guest
Vinnie

Oops, *year, sorry, the “y” on my computer keyboard doesn’t work…
And I want to say another thing: I’m happy that SVT has chosen Malmö, because it’s a great opportunity for this city to show that it’s not so bad as someone think. And I’m from the south of Italy, also here we all have a bad reputation, so I feel really close to Malmö’s people.

Vinnie
Guest
Vinnie

Good. Now Italy has more chances to take part in the next year. All the Italian ESC fans know that the RAI is really scared about the budget of a possible ESC in Italy, and we are not sure that we’ll take part next ear, but now… I think that SVT’s choice is very important for the little countries, the countries with less money, who are scared about the Eurovision. Another important thing is the arena. Here, in Italy, the biggest arena is in Turin, and it’s smaller than the Malmo Arena, only 12,000 places. In San Marino there aren’t… Read more »

Anthony Ko
Editor

SVT certainly do have a point on selecting a small arena like Malmö on a small budget.
Had Eleftheria Eleftheriou won this year, would you expect Greece to spend €100 million for Eurovision 2013 when the country’s currently under severe financial difficulty?

@Julian, I’m sure Azerbaijan was having their own Manchester City moment and went for the very best this year by spending a lot of money, trouncing the amount spent in Moscow 2009. Europe takes Eurovision seriously but Azerbaijan takes it to a whole new level and treat Eurovision like as if it’s the World Cup final.

David Thielen
Member

Emma – the size of the venue only matters to the people who now can’t get tickets which is what, 20K? That is pretty much irrelevant to the 100M+ that watch it on TV. And the TV presentation could well be better as the smaller setting makes the presentation more intimate.

Emma
Guest
Emma

To be honest, I’m a little upset about this 🙁 Stockholm has a brand new arena four times the size of Malmo Arena, plus there’s always the iconic Globen. And yet they hold ESC in Malmo with a tiny arena they use as a MF semi-final stage. Isn’t Sweden supposed to go a bit over the top? Eurovision is their thing. Although on the other hand, if the show is anywhere near as nicely produced as MF, ESC will be in good hands. Continually amazed at the quality and if that’s what they do on a budget, all power to… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Ok they said 12 millions. But is the 12 millions of ebu i suppose so for svt and they’re right to change that stupid rule to spend 150 millions for eurovision and organize that once every century. Just for “Watch my country is so wonderfull” Yes now, we know Azerbaijan is the land of horses, cuisine, culture, wind, fire, cars, and 40 others adjectives, but it’s also country of joy, i saw some sign in the audience, press center, and green room, i never seen before artists so happy in the green room, but it’s normal, it’s azerbaijan, land of… Read more »

William Lee Adams
Admin

But something tells me you will be eating a lot more “local cuisine”

Vebooboo Nadella
Guest

Something tells me we won’t get any free baklava in the press centre next year!