From Dante’s The Divine Comedy to the beloved film Il Postino, Italy has gifted the world memorable dramas. And as it turns out, the race to secure the Eurovision 2022 host city bid was filled with plenty of twists and turns of its own.
On Saturday La Stampa — a Torino-based newspaper — published a report detailing the behind-the-scenes events that ultimately led the city to win the right to host Eurovision inside its Pala Alpitour. One enormous factor that likely tipped the scale for Turin is convenience. Rai has a massive production centre in Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region. Human capital coupled with pre-existing technical infrastructure means Rai can keep the production in-house and save a whole lot of denaro.
Eurovision 2022 host city: Turin edged Bologna because of Rai’s local production resources
In the run-up to the grand final of Eurovision 2021, with buzz building about Maneskin on both social media and with the betmakers, Turin was already being floated as a potential host city.
This became very clear when, on May 21, just hours before the final, RAI held a Eurovision press conference. As you can watch in the tweet below, Claudio Fasulo, Entertainment Director at RAI, makes it clear Turin is the city most likely to host in the event Italy wins.
“If Italy and Maneskin are going to win, Rai would gladly host the biggest musical event in the world. In 2017, we had meetings and talked about Turin as best option for host city. Today, we would need a new meeting to decide the host city to see if there are new possibilities.”
Claudio Fasulo, vice direttore di Rai 1, smentisce la solita leggenda sulla Rai che non vorrebbe organizzare l’#Eurovision.
In caso di vittoria dell’Italia, l’#Eurovision2022 si potrebbe organizzare a Torino, ma è solo un’ipotesi.#Eurovision2021 #ESCITA pic.twitter.com/T9lcVYkkze
— Cinguetterai (@Cinguetterai) May 21, 2021
Yep. Italy had been floating the idea of Turin hosting Eurovision as early as 2017. They’d been forced to contemplate the issue shortly after Sanremo when Francesco Gabbani emerged as the big favourite to win Eurovision for Italy.
Shortly after Maneskin’s win Turin’s mayor Chiara Appendino was ready to push the button. At the time she said: “We are already working on the candidacy, waiting for the announcement [of the application process].”
Despite what may have been a running assumption that it was all about Torino, the city faced a lot of competition. Within hours cities including Rome, Milan, Bologna and Rimini had expressed their interest.
And Sanremo played something of a blinder. La Stampa reports it pulled out an old agreement with state television from the 1990s that said it would host Eurovision the next time the opportunity arose.
In total, and as been cited repeatedly, 17 cities expressed interest in hosting.
By September — following site inspections and discussions over costs, contracts and budgets — only Turin and Bologna remained in the race.
The paper says that local production resources available in the Piedmont region played a big part in the decision calculus.
“What played a role now was the firepower of the Piedmontese Rai, which was able to keep almost all of its production ‘in house’ in the regional capital. The needle of the scales was leaning more toward our city.”