Eurovision 2023: Manchester named on UK host cities shortlist

Manchester faces competition from six other cities: Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield.

Manchester has been named as one of the cities on the official shortlist to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

The winner of the previous year’s contest normally hosts the next event - but as Ukraine won in 2022, it was deemed too risky to host the 2023 Eurovision there due to the ongoing conflict, as the event takes months of pre-planning.

The UK’s Sam Ryder finished second - and the BBC agreed to take over the home nation hosting duties.

The city council quickly tossed their hat into the ring and confirmed they wanted Manchester to be considered - one of 20 UK cities to make ‘expressions of interest’.

And this morning on BBC Radio 2, the full shortlist of seven official bid cities was confirmed by DJ Scott Mills.

It features Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

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It is expected a decision on the winning city could be made in August.

Manchester city council leader Bev Craig tweeted: “We are thrilled to have made it through to the next stage.

“We have a large and proud Ukrainian community in Manchester. It would be our privilege to host this iconic celebration.”

Which venue could host Eurovision?

It will be the ninth time the UK has hosted the song contest but the last one was 25 years ago.

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Coun Craig confirmed the AO Arena - which can hold about 21,000 people - would be the location to welcome the thousands of Eurovision fans from across Europe, along with the huge production crews needed to put on the show, if the local bid wins.

Billie Eilish performed in Glasgow.

The BBC highlighted this week however how the AO already has events booked in the weeks leading up to Eurovision - including Magic Mike and Celine Dion’s tour - which need to be taken into consideration as there is normally a long lead-in time for rehearsals.

The huge BBC production presence in Salford could also go in the Manchester bid’s favour. The UK part in the 2022 contest came from Salford this year, the first time it had been moved outside of London.

Could the glamour of Eurovision be coming to the North East?

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What are the latest odds?

Bookies’ odds have mostly put Glasgow as the front runner so far at 6/4. Manchester lags behind around fifth in the running.