Built in 2015, Pavillon 2 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds has hosted the European Judo Championship and Festigal, an annual Israeli song and dance show for children. And now reports coming out of Israel suggest it is the most likely venue for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.
Yes, despite Prime Minister Netanyahu’s early insistence that Jerusalem would host Eurovision 2019, and despite Sports & Culture Minister Miri Regev’s very vocal stance on the matter, Tel Aviv has emerged as a favourite to host the contest.
That’s according to a Haaretzreport, which cites an unnamed senior official within Israel’s Finance Ministry.
KAN — the country’s Eurovision broadcaster — is in the middle of negotiation to secure a budget for the show, and it’s expected to land somewhere between $16.6 million and $22.1 million. After the Treasury issues the official budget, KAN can launch the host city bidding process. As part of the process, city officials must show that they can work within the financial constraints.
Although Jerusalem has hosted Eurovision twice and has a solid venue in Pais Arena, the Finance Ministry official suggested the city may struggle to cope with the size and scale of modern Eurovision. The Eurovision schedule, which includes weeks of rehearsals, would conflict with the Sabbath, which Jerusalem’s Orthodox community honours. And then there’s the issue of Eurovision Village, where fans without tickets party hard around the clock. The mayor’s recent resignation adds another confounding variable to the mix.
The Fairgrounds — also known as the Tel Aviv Convention Centre — are most definitely enthused by today’s report.
Tamir Dayan, CEO of the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, told Haaretz: “If it is decided that Eurovision will not take place in Jerusalem, we will be happy to host it.”
It has a capacity of around 10,000, which makes it nearly half the size of Altice Arena in Lisbon, which can hold around 18,000 (though it should be pointed out it held around 11,000 during Eurovision after removing seats for the stage and green room).
Here’s how the convention centre describes itself on its web site:
“A smart, versatile space, the only one of its kind in the Middle East, which allows literally every dream to come true. The pavilion stretches across 50,000 sq m and rises to a height of 20 meters without the use of pillars. The central space can be divided using acoustic partitions that have been developed specifically for this project, which can accommodate a number of events simultaneously and in perfect harmony and with unparalleled sound quality. The innovative and steadfast floor foundations allow trucks to reach all the way to the other side; its ceiling pillars can withstand extremely heavy loads which will allow exhibitions at a standard never before seen in Israel.”
As we’ve previously reported, it’s thought that four cities will submit bids: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, and Haifa, which is known for its stunning Bahai Gardens.
While the official thinks that Tel Aviv is the most viable option, he or she also states that Haifa is still in the race. However, the Eurovision production schedule likely conflicts with the match schedule of Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Haifa — two football clubs that use the Sammy Ofer Stadium.
What do you think about today’s report? Do you think that Tel Aviv is a good alternative to Jerusalem? Do you think this report is more viable since it’s sourced from the Finance Ministry — which is privy to financial considerations? Or do you think that Jerusalem is still going to take this? Let us know down below.