After months of speculation, weeks of bidding, one nationally-broadcast presentation show, a delayed decision process, a cancelled announcement and a few mud-slinging sessions between politicians, Kyiv has been named Eurovision 2017 host city.
Ukraine’s state broadcaster NTU, in conjunction with the EBU, made the announcement today. Though fans were kept waiting after the live stream was delayed due to technical difficulties.
All of the shows will take place in the International Exhibition Centre, where officials had previously drawn up plans for a 10,000-capacity arena, which includes 5,000 seated places. However, at the announcement today, it was revealed that the centre would have a capacity of 12,000 to 14,000.
The Organising Committee decided that Ukraine’s capital offers the best overall package, when accounting for transportation links, accommodation and tourist infrastructure.
And it was a near unanimous decision. According to a tweet from Rozenko Pavlo, the vice prime minister of Ukraine, the vote was won by 19 votes to two, with one person abstaining.
“In the course of the selection we were deeply impressed with the efforts made by the bidding cities, the professionalism of their teams and the serious approach to their participation in the bid,” NTU Deputy Director General Victoria Romanova said in a statement sent to wiwibloggs.
“The process has demonstrated an unprecedented interest in the Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine. We look forward to maintaining that momentum, with thanks and congratulations to Kyiv — the host city of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.”
Speaking to the media before the announcement, the Minister of Culture said there had been a “boxing battle” between frontrunners Odessa and Kyiv, and that regardless of which was chosen, “both the cities will cause us regret.”
He also noted that the international interest in Lviv had made them decide to look at building a suitable venue for future large events. “It gives us an opportunity … to focus on finding investors to build a proper, interesting arena in Lviv for different concerts.”
He added that while Dnipro was a peaceful city and ready to host Eurovision, its proximity to areas of political tension was problematic for a host city.
Kyiv had wanted to renovate the Palace of Sport, which hosted Eurovision 2005 and Junior Eurovision 2009, but opted for the much larger exhibition centre instead.
They will merge two of its exhibition halls into a single venue, as you can see below.
Earlier this month, in an interview Hromadske, the head of Kyiv’s Department of Tourism Anton Taranenko said that the IEC is the only venue that meets the EBU’s technical requirements to host the event.
Giving reporters a tour of the venue, Anton added that it was the only venue still in the running that didn’t require the (expensive and time-consuming) construction of a roof.
Besides traditional bus and taxi routes, city officials will make water taxis available to transport passengers between the venue and central Kyiv. The Minister of Culture was quick to add that there will be security forces patrolling the Dnieper River at all times.
The First Semi-Final will take place on May 9, the Second Semi-Final will take place on May 11 and the Grand Final will play out in all its glory on May 13.
Are you excited about the decision to stage Eurovision in the country’s capital?