It was used as the venue for the fictional Eurovision Song Contest depicted in the Netflix hit Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. And now Eurofans and the Scottish media are wondering aloud if the Glasgow OVO Hydro could soon end up as the actual host venue for Eurovision 2023.
As you’re well-aware by now, Ukraine won Eurovision 2022 and has already announced its hope to host the contest next year. But given the uncertainty and destruction caused by Russia’s war, people are understandably exploring the idea that Ukraine won’t be able to host.
In previous years when the winning country has been unable to host, the second place nation has been offered the job. The first instance of this occurred in 1960, when 1959 runners-up United Kingdom stepped up to host the contest after winners The Netherlands declined due to the expense.
Eurovision fans have noticed that the OVO Hydro has events listed for next spring and summer — with the glaring omission of May, when Eurovision normally takes place. We see that it will host the Magic Mike arena tour on 25 April and Ozzy Osbourne: No More Tours 2 on 4 June.
Eurovision typically requires that the venue be free for six weeks. With a few event cancellations, could organisers make the song contest happen in this window?
Could Glasgow host Eurovision 2023 inside OVO Hydro?
At least one member of the Scottish Parliament from Glasgow is already keen on the idea. As the Scottish Daily Express reports, Kaukab Stewart said: “Fantastic venue in Glasgow Kelvin Constituency to host Eurovision 2023, bring it on!”
It certainly has the infrastructure. In the coming months it will play host to artists including Andrea Bocelli, George Ezra, Swedish House Mafia, Machine Gun Kelly, Billy Idol, Westlife, Florence + The Machine, Justin Bieber and Eurovision winner Celine Dion.
Given the top-notch artists it attracts, it’s no surprise that as recently as 2019, the venue was the second busiest in the world behind only Madison Square Garden in New York City. With more than one million visitors every year, it regularly features in the Top 10 list of busiest arenas globally, out-performing the likes of Manchester Arena in England and the Sydney Super Dome in Australia.
The UK has hosted Eurovision more times than any other nation, with eight hostings across London, Edinburgh, Harrogate, Brighton and Birmingham. It has not, however, commented on the potential of hosting in 2023 — unlike several other broadcasters across Europe.
On BBC’s Sunday Morning, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was intrigued by the possibility of a British city hosting the contest — but expressed confidence in the Ukrainian people to make Eurovision happen in their country next year.
"It would be an honour to host [Eurovision] but President Zelensky is fully confident that Ukraine will be able to host the contest next year"— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) May 15, 2022
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng discusses the prospect of the UK hosting Eurovision in 2023#SundayMorning https://t.co/dlFQBN8WKy pic.twitter.com/uBrtNrd8U6
Kwarteng said: “Of course it would be an honour for us to host [Eurovision] but I’m very clear that President Zelensky is fully confident that Ukraine will be able to host the contest next year, and I look forward to watching it there.”
Mykola Chernotytskyi, Head of the Managing Board of Ukraine’s UA:PBC, said that direct consultations the European Broadcasting Union started on Friday.
“We are doing our best, and I hope that the state will also support us in holding the Eurovision Song Contest here,” he said last week. “I hope that the Eurovision Song Contest will be held in peaceful Ukraine. However, I am saying once again that the security factor is important and the final decision will be taken together with the European Broadcasting Union. It will be a difficult negotiation, I am already sure of that.”