After months of speculation and plenty of behind-the-scenes campaigning, the EBU finally announced that Tel Aviv would host Eurovision 2019. Ever since the September 13 announcement attention has been on the host venue Pavilion 2, which has since changed its name to the Tel Aviv Expo Convention Centre. The announcement was positively received by most of the public — especially fans — as it is no secret that Tel Aviv is considered a modern gay capital and one of the most appropriate cities to host an event such as Eurovision. We also favoured Tel Aviv and recommended it as the host city due to its liberal atmosphere and vibe…and the more secular approach to Shabbat with regards to public services and opening hours.
But once the dust settled, joy turned into frustration for many fans. This was due to reports in the Israeli media claiming that only 4,000 tickets would be made available for the public out of a total of 7,000 seats. The other 3,000 are to be allocated to the various delegations and EBU representatives.
Israeli media and fans did not hold back, unleashing a wave of rage and anger. Some fans claimed that the decision should be revoked and that Jerusalem would be more suitable to host the Eurovision, since it has a much larger venue in the Pais Arena, which has around 15,000 seats.
Here are a selection of angry comments we found in one of the biggest Eurovision fan groups on Facebook.
“This is a disgrace! We have been waiting for many years for Israel to host and look what happened.”
“This is so sad and unfair.”
“Why didn’t we insist on a bigger venue such as Pais?”
Others tried to be more optimistic and said that despite the size of the venue, the production will compensate for it and that this is only one aspect of the event. Someone even called the Israeli fans “whiny kids” and asked them to stop being so bitter…
But it now appears that KAN and the EBU have taken these concerns seriously or are at least considering the situation. According to Israel Hayom, KAN published a tender for the construction of the stage in which it had specified that the stage must be down-sized to increase the venue’s capacity. Whether this will be of comfort to the fans or not is unclear. But one thing is now clear: the Eurovision 2019 stage will be much smaller compared to previous contests.
Israel Hayom also reports that KAN has started to work on other plans for the competition with initial ideas being discussed. They intend to publish an overview on their weekend news edition so stay tuned for more updates coming shortly.
What do you think? Do you prefer a huge stage like the one we’ve had in Lisbon? Or an intimate one as we are probably going to have in Tel Aviv? Tell us what you think and perhaps your opinion will make the change!