After a somewhat lengthy process of deliberation including interventions from the President and the Prime minister and a vote of cabinet, a decision has been made. Eurovision 2017 will be held in Kiev.
After the dust settles on the Ukrainians’ going with the safe option, it’s worth looking at the what parameters of staging the Eurovision in recent years have been like.
Hosting the contest over the past few years has proven itself to be solidly lucrative. Malmö 2013 proved profitable bringing in a net benefit for the city and it’s surrounding region of about SEK 32 million. The organisers in Vienna last year set themselves the high bar of hosting the greenest contest ever (admittedly aided by Austria’s central location) and still managed to be similarly successful.
All of these figures only show an accounting profit. The long term economic benefits of presenting a country in a positive light on prime time international television over three nights in May is incalculable. This will be of particular benefit in 2017 given the unfortunately bad press that Ukraine has had in recent years.
All of the above doesn’t tally with the prevailing media narrative however. Every May, entertainment news outlets resort to one of their favourite copy and paste pieces of Spring- the cost of hosting Eurovision and the fear the ensuing outlay. This is based on a false premise for several reasons. The winning country in the Eurovision is not obliged, nor have they ever been to obliged to host the event the following year. Winning simply guarantees your country will receive the first offer to host. The fact that this offer has not been turned down since the late 1970s reaffirms how gainful a prospect it is.
What does cost money to host and can often end in the financial ruin of a city is the Olympic Games. Beijing 2008 is the only example of an Olympics held in the past 15 years to have been of any significant benefit for the hosts. Furthermore, the nefarious way the IOC behaves when even just considering would-be hosts for its events is intriguing and surely shows the need for more scrutiny.