With the next Eurovision Song Contest set to be held in the UK, all eight venues originally in the running were from the North, with Liverpool pipping Glasgow in final two. H&E North reports on the amazing venues that were shortlisted.
In an exciting turn of events for northern- based event professionals, the host of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be Liverpool, having just beat out Glasgow for hosting rights. All eight shortlisted cities sit in the North, showcasing our region’s amazing events offering.
We look at the winning venue, (as well as those that were in the running) and what they offer event organisers.
Liverpool | M&S Bank Arena
Liverpool has much to recommend it as the host city for the Eurovision Song Contest next year. Not least the vibrant music scene which produced the Beatles. In terms of event capacity, the M&S Bank Arena which would hold the contest attracted more than 618,000 visitors to 269 events across the event campus in its first year, generating an economic impact of £207 million to the city region. Since opening, the campus has attracted more than 8 million visitors to around 4,500 events across its entire site and generated £2 billion in economic benefit for the local economy.
The aptly named Space is a new addition to the M&S Bank Arena, which combines with its sister venue Exhibition Centre Liverpool. The venue has 8,100 sq. metres of versatile and flexible entertainment space that is sub-divisible into three interlinked halls, each 2,700 sq. metres in size which can be used separately or in combination for up to 7,000 delegates.
THE RUNNER UP
Glasgow | OVO Hydro Arena
As the only venue outside of England which was considered, the OVO Hydro arena has a lot riding on Glasgow’s bid. Despite coming in second, this 14,300 venue has a lot to offer. In fact, the exterior of the arena was actually used in Will Ferrell’s 2020 Netflix movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. Attracting an audience of more than a million visitors each year, the venue is ranked by Pollstar in the top 10 arenas globally, alongside renowned venues such as Madison Square Garden and The O2.
With flexible draping systems meaning that the space can easily hold 5,000, 7,000, or 9,000 without having the space seem empty, this venue is adaptable to whatever is asked of it. Top of the line rigging, lighting, AV, and digital screening is available throughout the venue, making this the space to go to if you want to make a spectacle. Of course, the arena also sits opposite the Scottish Event Campus, offering even more flexible event space into the mix. OVO Hydro augments the SEC’s existing facilities and stages 140+ events annually.
JUST MISSING OUT…
Leeds | First Direct Arena
Previously in contention was the First Direct Arena in Leeds, which offers a massive amount of space for organisers to play with. With a total floor area of 2,200 sq. metres available for hire as well as 400
sq. meters of ancillary exhibition space and an outdoor plaza. For conferences, the venue holds flexible spaces that can accommodate from 10 to 2,000 delegates, including a tiered auditorium perfect for 500 delegates, breakout rooms for 10 to 200 people, and lounge spaces for up to 200 delegates.
Sheffield | Utilita Arena
This arena is a purpose-built indoor entertainment centre and its space can be scaled to suit the needs of any event up to a 13,600 capacity. The Steel Hall is a venue housed within the arena’s main hall, which can bring up to 4,500 delegates together without drowning them in the full arena space. A series of drapes dress the venue to give an intimate feel so any customer attending a Steel Hall event will not feel they are attending an event in a cut down arena.
Manchester | AO Arena
Arenas don’t often come up in discussion as venues for smaller events, but Manchester’s AO arena has the perfect backstage space for an event for up to 250 people. With 250 sq. metres of space, Plus 1 is a unique space with its own self- contained private bar, cloakroom, and washroom facilities. The arena can also offer a range of catering options to wow your delegates with, including buffets and formal dining.
Birmingham | Utilita Arena
As Birmingham put in its bid to hold Eurovision in 2023, the Utilita Arena came into the spotlight. Having already welcomed more than 17 million visitors and held world-class events of all shapes and sizes, this venue can handle anything, with capacities from 2,400 up to 15,800
Newcastle | Utilita Arena
With the largest exhibition space in the North East of England, it’s no wonder that Newcastle’s Utilita arena was in the running for Eurovision host. This 36,000 sq. metre complex boasts an uninterrupted roof span and a total floor area of 3,960 sq. metres plus an external exhibition area. The venue also contains a theatre style space catering up to 9,000 delegates as well as a private lounge which can provide a breakout space.