With only a few days remaining before Sweden, the 2024 hosts of Eurovision, formally receives the key from Liverpool, an official report has concluded that the city has revolutionised the contest’s hosting.
Researchers conducted ground-breaking research to understand the power and impact on global cultural relations that the UK and Liverpool wielded as hosts of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.
The report, which was commissioned by the British Council and produced in collaboration with Liverpool City Council and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, makes use of a wide range of sources, including case studies, in-depth research, and an international survey, to investigate whether the event improved Liverpool’s and the UK’s reputation and encouraged future visits and business opportunities.
In considering Liverpool’s approach to hosting the competition on behalf of Ukraine, the report says: “Liverpool’s vision for achieving positive impact from the opportunity, has redefined the event’s politics of place in ways that can inspire future hosts.”
It acknowledges that Liverpool’s production was much more than just an arena show and lays the groundwork for other hosts to effectively convey important stories to a sizable global audience in the future.
It’s acknowledged that Liverpool’s reputation as a music city, a hub for immersive cultural events with active community engagement, and a pioneer in event evaluation has increased as a result of the extensive host city programme organised and carried out by Liverpool City Council and its partners, as well as the superior output of the BBC and the backing of the UK Government.
The first-ever EuroFestival programme for a host city, which featured 24 brand-new artistic commissions—of which 19 were by Ukrainian artists—taking over the city as part of the festivities, is praised in the report. This approach forged new, creative partnerships with Ukraine and showcased Ukrainian culture to diverse audiences. In the process of organising and executing this programme, the City Council collaborated with the Ukrainian Institute and the British Council, resulting in significant and concrete cross-cultural relationships.
The city-wide embrace of all things The city-wide embrace of Eurovision positively contributed to Liverpool’s reception. Businesses and locals flying Pride, Eurovision, and Ukrainian flags reaffirmed inclusivity and represented the essence of the occasion. This was perceived as Liverpool’s effective way of expressing its ideals as a friendly, hospitable, and warm city.
The report also emphasises the tight timelines for putting on one of the largest music events globally, praising the organisers for surpassing the minimal requirements for hosting Eurovision and instead presenting a warm, ambitious programme in half the allotted time. In a quote from a Spirit of 2012 representative: “I’m not sure it would be possible within the timeframe to have given it to a city that didn’t have that kind of overall sense of events.”
An analysis of the locations where visitors were inspired by Eurovision 2023 was conducted through a survey that involved over 5,000 respondents from Estonia, France, Poland, Spain, and Romania. Of the respondents, one-third stated that they would now visit Liverpool and the UK more frequently.
It is recommended that future host cities follow Liverpool’s evaluation methodology; once again, this was a first-time experience that showed how Eurovision 2023 brought in £54 million for the Liverpool City Region and brought in 473,000 visitors. As a model for Malmö and other future host cities, Liverpool has now established what needs to be assessed and how to do it.
And it wasn’t just Liverpool that felt the benefit. The BBC also noticed increased reputational uplift for itself on the wider Liverpool City Region and the north of England after producing Eurovision, and a senior interviewee felt that the event had been “a unifying point across the political divide’, with cross-party support for solidarity with Ukraine and for the BBC.
The report summarises Liverpool’s potential new global perception by stating that the city is now recognised for more than just its connection to The Beatles and is a leader in large-scale event hosting as well as a place that reacts to events with ambition and creativity. This is thanks to Liverpool’s hosting of Eurovision.
To read the full report, please visit the British Council website.
Eurovision Minister Stuart Andrew said:
“Liverpool and the BBC put on a spectacular celebration of UK and Ukrainian culture at last year’s Eurovision and this research proves the huge impact it had. I am proud that the government was able to support this and provide tickets for more than 3,000 Ukrainians.
“The UK is a global leader in hosting major events. Alongside our music and creative industries they deliver huge economic value as well as improving our standing on the world stage and helping us to build relationships across the globe. The legacy of the 2023 Eurovision will be felt for generations to come and I applaud the hard work of everybody involved.”
Sweden will receive the official Eurovision key from Liverpool on Tuesday, January 30, at the Insignia event in Malmö.
The University of Hull led this research project in collaboration with a team of consultants from the University of Brighton, the University of Glasgow, and Royal Holloway (University of London).
The UK’s international agency for educational opportunities and cultural exchanges is called the British Council. By fostering relationships, mutual understanding, and trust between citizens of the UK and other nations, it promotes peace and prosperity.
To read the other reports commissioned to evaluate the impact of Eurovision, head to the Heseltine Institute.