Earlier this week, Tel Aviv was confirmed as the host city of Eurovision 2019. Since then, it has been clear that the host venue — Pavilion 2 of the Tel Aviv Convention Center — is a little on the small side. But now an Israeli newspaper is claiming that “only 4000” seats per show will be available to the public.
The tabloid Israel Hayom reports that while Pavilion 2 can seat up to 9000, only 4000 seats may be available for fans wishing to see the Eurovision 2019 shows.
Space for 2000 seats will be lost to the show’s stage and production equipment, such as cameras. It will be a snug fit, and unlike in previous years, the green room will be located outside of the main hall, in the adjacent Pavilion 1.
This leaves 7000 seats. But of that, around 3000 will be allocated to delegations, the EBU and other groups involved in the show.
Israel Hayom estimates this will leave around just 4000 seats available to the public. This averages to just 93 seats per the assumed 43 competing countries — though demand will vary between countries. It’s also expected that ticket demand will be high from both Israeli Eurovision fans and curious locals.
In previous years, OGAE fan clubs have offered members ticket packages, however there is speculation that due to the reduction in available seats, the number of OGAE packages may be vastly reduced or not offered at all. For Lisbon, 1700 OGAE ticket packages were available to fans, but the year before only 900 were available due to the much smaller Kyiv venue.
While Tel Aviv Convention Center is amongst the smallest host venue since Eurovision switched to arena venues in 1998, it isn’t the smallest. Eurovision 2003 was hosted in Riga’s Skonto Hall, with a maximum capacity of just 6500.
And as always, Eurovision is primarily a television event. Broadcasting it from a smaller venue won’t affect the ability of millions of viewers to watch the broadcast.
It is important to note that at this stage, the seating availability for Eurovision 2019 is currently just speculation. Neither the EBU nor host broadcaster KAN have confirmed seating numbers.
But what about the fans?
So what does a Eurovision fan do if they have travelled all the way to Tel Aviv but can’t get tickets to watch the live song contest shows?
If the semi-finals and grand final sell out, there’s still the possibility of the jury rehearsal or the family show. Both will allow fans to experience full dress rehearsals — just without the voting.
Another possibility is the Eurovillage. Typically the Eurovillage offers a live screening of the semi-finals and grand final. Fans can gather with other like-minded folk and enjoy the show amongst the festival atmosphere of the Eurovillage.
Another option may be to take inspiration from Sweden in 2016. The Globe Arena had a capacity of 16,000, nowhere near enough to meet the needs of Swedish Eurovision fans.
Broadcaster SVT came to the rescue with Eurovision: The Party. The event was held at Tele2 Arena — just along from Globen. It involved a live screening of the grand final, performances from Eurovision and Melfest stars and was the location of Gina Diwari’s points delivery.
Tickets to Eurovision: The Party sold out and was it considered a successful alternative for those who missed out on seeing the show inside the Globe.
Fans have speculated that a similar event could work for Tel Aviv, held either at a sports arena or at a beachfront park location.
What do you think? Should fans be given priority with ticket sales? Should alternate viewing locations be set up for fans? Share your ideas below!