Today’s the date by which all interested Italian cities must submit their bids to host Eurovision 2022. However, reports of Bologna’s submission bid appear to reveal another very important date — the date of next year’s grand final. Apparently, the show is pencilled in for 14 May.
The information is slight, with il Resto del Carlino writing “At the moment there is only one date on the calendar. May 14. That is the day of the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. The first in Italy for 31 years now.”
Bologna’s Eurovision 2022 bid
The publication goes into more depth on Bologna’s proposal. The city’s bid is backed by mayor Virginio Merola and the governor Stefano Bonaccini. The proposed venue is not known, but the publication speculates that it would be either the Unipol Arena or the Fiera. Bologna is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy and the seventh biggest city in Italy overall. It’s a city steeped in culture and has held the titles of both the European capital of culture and the UNESCO “City of Music”. It’s the hometown of many iconic figures, including the late Raffaella Carrà and San Marino’s 2021 representative Senhit.
In the same news report, Måneskin’s Eurovision 2021 creative director Claudio Santucci weighs up the city’s chances. “From a technical point of view, the Casalecchio sports hall [The Unipol Arena] is perhaps the best we have, with large spaces around it to build support structures”, he says. The arena has capacity for 13,500 spectators.
While we don’t yet know the final number of candidates, experts believe it will come down to a four-way battle between Bologna, Turin, Milan and Rome. “The PalaOlimpico in Turin is the newest arena, the most beautiful, even if it is completely white and just a little light is enough to take away some of its magic,” says Santucci. “[Milan’s] The Assago Forum is a little less spacious, but it has all the necessary characteristics, starting with the solidity of the roof on which the structures are hung”, he continues. “The Forum among other things, has the advantage of having the Repower Theater next to it, which could house the huge Eurovision media centre”.
His comments on Rome’s options are less positive. He says that the PalaeEur has “a ceiling that does not allow hanging suspended loads”. He suggests that “in Rome, one could focus on a large tent like that of Tor Vergata in 2004 for MTV Europe Music Awards, but it costs more than an arena. In 2014, in Malta, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest was organized inside a gigantic factory of disused ships. Industrial archaeology might be an idea, but the very high standards required could spike the costs of adaptation.”
Eurovision 2022 host city bidding process
The Eurovision 2022 host city race opened last week. The window for submitting bids is brief — the closing date is midnight tonight, Monday 12 July. At the time of writing, only a handful of cities have gone public with their submissions. However, several other cities have already made declarations of interest. The full list should be revealed shortly after the deadline has passed.
Italian broadcaster RAI has issued some very important parameters for the candidate cities. In order to host Eurovision 2022, a city must have an international airport no more than 90 minutes from the city. It should also have over 2,000 hotel rooms in the area close to the event and an infrastructure capable of hosting a large-scale live broadcast.
The venue must fulfil several requirements as well, such as being indoors and having air-conditioning and a well-defined perimeter. The arena should have an audience capacity in the main hall of at least 8,000 – 10,000 during the event and a main hall that can house the set and all other requirements needed to produce a high-level broadcast production.
It’s also worth mentioning that those 8,000 – 10,000 people should correspond to 70% of the maximum capacity of that venue for regular concerts, as the specific stage and production needs of Eurovision should be taken into consideration. The venue should also have ample space within easy access of the main hall to support additional production needs, such as: a press centre capable of hosting over 1,000 journalists; delegation spaces, dressing rooms, artist facilities, staff facilities, hospitality, audience facilities.
Most importantly, the infrastructure must be available exclusively for six weeks before the event, two weeks during the show in May and a week after the end of the event for dismantling. That’s nine weeks.
Given the requirements, it’s almost a given that two cities will be out of the running. Sanremo, the city where it all started, with its renowned Festival di Sanremo, does not meet most of the requirements. The lack of a suitable venue is the most evident, as Teatro Ariston only holds 2,000 people. It doesn’t look good for Verona neither, as their proposal of hosting in Arena di Verona — the fantastic set for Diodato’s live performance of “Fai Rumore” — is an open-air venue.
What do you think of Bologna’s chances? Let us know below.