On the evening of 20 July, NTU aired “City Battle”, a special TV show that gave the six candidates for Eurovision 2017 host city the opportunity to sell themselves to officials and the public. Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Odessa, Kharkiv and Kherson each sent delegations to present their proposals — and a short video — all with the hope of becoming one of the two finalists, which will be announced on July 22.
In case you missed the presentation, wiwibloggs watched the show and wrote down the highlights to help you decide which city you want to host Eurovision 2017.
Presented by the Deputy Mayor of Development, Mr. Andriy Moskalenko, the City of Lions served a heavy dose of romantic realness. Their promo video told the story of two people travelling to Eurovision, where they meet and dance together until sunrise. Its town centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, replete with the stunning architecture you’d expect, and its tourist infrastructure is quite solid, with more than 10,000 hotel rooms availabe across all price points. He pointed out that the city has previous experience hosting Eurovision 2012 football matches and the World Chess Championships. Rock on!
Mr. Moskalenko named Arena Lviv as the recommended venue. The football stadium lacks a roof, but they are already working with technicians on building one. At the end of the presentation, Eurovision 2004 winner Ruslana — who was born and raised in the city — said that she visited an unfinished basketball arena in her hometown, and is sure it can be completed in time for Eurovision.
Kyiv received the loudest applause in the studio, but that makes sense since the studio was in Kyiv. As the country’s capital and largest city it has the tourism infrastructure already in place and unrivaled experience hosting large events.
Mr. Oleksiy Reznikov, Deputy Head of State Administration, explained that the two international airports welcome nine million passengers each year, and highlighted the countless transport options on-the-ground. With 265 hotels across all price points and 23,000 rooms, they can more than support the Eurovision demand. Mr. Reznikov also assured officials that the city can manage and maintain the neccessary security operations.
As for the proposed venues, the Palace of Sports sits at the top of the list. Kyiv proposed renovating the arena that hosted Eurovision 2005 and Junior Eurovision 2009, with the capacity reaching 10,000 spectators. It’s located near four Metro stations and several large hotels, and EuroClub, the press centre and Eurovision Village, will all be within walking distance.
Asked about the European Hockey Championships, which will take place at the arena in late April — too near to Eurovision to make the venue practical — Mr. Reznikov said that Kyiv’s priority is Eurovision.
The Exhibition Centre is another possible venue, owing to its huge capacity of 50,000. In recent days, there has been much talk about the Olympic Stadium and its chances of hosting Eurovision. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to put a roof on this massive building, which seats 70,000, so it was not included on Kyiv’s list.
The city formely known as Dnipropetrovsk is eager to host the contest. More than 80 hotels are available in the Ukrainian city, which was a hub for the production of military machinary from the 1940s and later space rocket systems in the 1980s.
Mr. Borys Filatov, Mayor of Dnipro, admitted that the infrastructure is not good, and that the airport can only accept 5,000 passengers a day. However, Dnipro’s peaceful citizens and students would make everyone feel welcome, since most of them are fluent in English.
The Dnipro EuroArena, which is already under construction, could fit 9,500 guests as well as facilities for the Euroclub and the Press Centre — meaning that visitors wouldn’t have to schlepp around too much to get from A to B to C.
Ukraine’s third-largest city is an architectural gem that at times seems more Mediterranean than post-Soviet, as it serves Italian, French and Bohemian-style realness.
Hennadiya Trukhanova, Mayor of Odessa, emphasised the city’s strong transportation links. The city’s port is the biggest in Ukraine and one of the best in Europe, and the city’s railway connects it to the rest of the country. A new terminal will open at Odessa International Airport in September, offering a glitzy entry point for international travelers. Lara Fabian and Jamala have already expressed their support for Odessa’s bid. The city proposed Chornomorets Stadium as the event venue. It boasts a capacity of 10,000-12,000 and, although it will need a roof, Odessa is already prepared to make this happen.
Kharkiv — Ukraine’s second largest city — is one of the few in the country that has a subway. But it’s not on top of the tourist list — and that’s despite having the massive and picturesque Freedom Square, which is the sixth largest in Europe. In fact, that square is their proposed location for Eurovision Village. (It boasts a giant 16-metre high thermometer to let fans see temperatures rising).
Its Metalist Stadium, which has a capacity of 40,000, would need a roof installed — a process that could take three to four months.
The city’s international airport currently has flights to Istanbul, Minsk, Tel Aviv and Warsaw, so you’ll need to connect in one of these cities (if not in Kyiv).
Kherson was the last city to join the bidding process, having signed up on July 5. The small city —population 330,000 — has a rich history of shipbuilding. Unfortunately it’s less than 70 miles from the Crimean border, which won’t sit well with uneasy fans or the overly cautious EBU, and there is no suitable hall or venue for the event. Its mayor has described Eurovision as “a huge chance for Kherson to restore much-needed tourist, entertainment and sports infrastructure”.