Utilita Arena Newcastle confirm desire to host Eurovision 2023 should event come to city

The Utilita Arena said it would be “priviliged and overjoyed to host Eurovision in 2023” if a Newcastle bid was succesful

The Utilita Arena Newcastle has confirmed it is keen and ready to host Eurovision 2023, should a bid from the city be successful.

On Monday, Eurovision Song Contest organisers confirmed that the United Kingdom would host the event in 2023 instead of Ukraine as the country continues to fight a Russian invasion.

The search for a UK host city is underway this week with councils across the country preparing bids to bring the event to their region.

Newcastle City Council had already shown interest in hosting the event and now the city's biggest indoor venue has confirmed its desire to host the song contest.

A spokesperson from the Utilita Arena Newcastle told NewcastleWorld: "Utilita Arena Newcastle would be privileged and overjoyed to host Eurovision in 2023 if Newcastle was lucky enough to be the nominated hosting city.

"As a live music venue, it would be a great experience for all involved to not only celebrate the variety of music performed on the day, but to welcome all the different nationalities to our venue and show off the fantastic wider region.

"Whoever the lucky city and venue is to host Eurovision, we can’t wait to see the contest come to the UK and we hope if it’s not hosted in Utilita Arena Newcastle, it finds its home in another ASM Global UK venue."

The Utilita Arena is ready to welcome the event

One requirement for a city to host the Eurovision Song Contest is an arena with the capacity to accommodate around 10,000 spectators.

The Utilita Arena Newcastle can hold 11,000 people, so ticks that box, and currently has no events listed for May 2023.

The official Eurovision website outlines the requirements that a host city must meet on its website.

It states: "The venue should accommodate around 10,000 spectators and the city should be within easy reach of an international airport.

"The location must also have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, accredited journalists and spectators."

Newcastle does have a well-connected international airport and suitable levels of accommodation.

Newcastle City Council is yet to launch an official bid but had previously made its desire to do so clear.

Speaking on behalf of the council, Cabinet member for a Resilient City, Cllr Alex Hay, said: “Newcastle is a welcoming, well-connected and ambitious city with a proven track record of staging world-class events.

“Obviously it would be wonderful to host Eurovision and we believe that Newcastle would be a perfect host city.

“We are looking forward to hearing more about the bidding process and are already working with partners to explore the opportunity.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has also reported to understand that the council is working with Invest Newcastle on bringing Eurovision to Tyneside, with talks already held with the BBC and organisers in a previous host city.

Members of the band "Kalush Orchestra" pose onstage with the winner's trophy and Ukraine's flags after winning on behalf of Ukraine the Eurovision Song contest 2022

Next year's Eurovision was due to be held in Ukraine after the continent rallied behind the country's entry Kalush Orchestra and crowned them 2022 winners in May.

However, with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, broadcasters took the difficult decision to move hosting responsibilities to the UK, which placed second this year.

Speaking on the search for a new host city, BBC Director-General Tim Davie said: "It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.

"The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity. The BBC will now begin the process to find a host city to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023."