As a reminder, the European Broadcasting Union requires all hosts to meet the following requirements:
- A host venue able to accommodate at least 10,000 spectators
- A press centre for 1,500 journalists (even if only 500 were allowed at last year’s press centre)
- A city served by an international airport
- Hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators
The First Direct Arena has been designated an English landmark and holds 13,781. It won the best new venue in the world in 2014 and has hosted countless large concerts since Bruce Springsteen opened the venue in 2013, including former Eurovision winner Celine Dion. The venue has retractable seats to make it an all-seater or have floor space. It is a short walk from Leeds railway station. Transport in Leeds is strong, with a busy rail network. The airport is one of the more well-connected Northern English airports.
Odds rank: 5th
A city famous for music thanks to the Beatles, Liverpool is a well-connected city thanks to the John Lennon International Airport. The M&S Bank Arena holds 11,000 and has a sustainable certification. The Exhibition Centre Liverpool is connected to the Arena and could be used for both the delegation bubble and the press center.
Odds rank: 4th
The city that many people would instantly assume would host, London needs little introduction. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world, every participant, even Australia, can fly to Heathrow. The Underground is perhaps the most famous public transportation in the world. London can host major events, having just hosted the Euros finals for both men and women. The O2 Arena holds 20,000 and is the busiest music arena in the world on ticket sales. The OVO Arena Wembly is smaller with a capacity of 12,500, both venues were used during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Both venues have additional space nearby for a press center.
Odds rank: 6th
Home of the biggest arena in the United Kingdom, the 21,000 capacity AO Arena which was home to the 2017 Ariana Grande concert that was attacked, has gone on to host major events since. Former Eurovision Champion Celine Dion is scheduled to play the arena about a month before Eurovision would take over. Manchester has the third biggest airport in the UK and serves Europe well. The arena is connected to Manchester Victoria station so it will be easier for visitors.
Odds rank: 3rd
Holding 11,000 fans the Utilita Arena, Newcastle filled a gap in the region, allowing major acts to come through. That has allowed for the venue to have plenty of experience hosting major music events. The airport is one of the biggest in the country and there’ll be an appeal of hosting an even in an often forgotten town in the country.
Odds rank: 16th
More famous as a venue for ice sports than for concerts, Nottingham could use a major event to justify the Motorpoint Arena. Holding 15,865 fans (with standing room) the surrounding complex also has space for the delegation bubble and the press center. While a smaller airport than the others in this list it would more than meet the criteria and the area is much more pastoral than the bigger cities in contention.
Odds rank: 13th
The city council is going hard for Sheffield to host the contest. The Utilita Arena Sheffield meets the criteria to host, holding 13,600 in concert configuration and has the connecting Steel Hall that could be split for the delegation bubble and press center. The venue is famous for being the host of One Direction’s final concert. Sheffield has more than half of its area as green space so it will be a nice city to visit but the airport is 29km away from the city center.
Odds rank: 15th
While Wolverhampton has put its hand up as a host city there’s a few issues with its bid. The only venue that meets the size requirements is Molineux which holds 32,050 and is an outdoor football stadium. That will be a hard sell for the EBU. Wolverhampton Civic Hall only holds 3,000 so it wouldn’t work. The nearest major airport is Birmingham which would rule Wolverhampton out of hosting.
Odds rank: 21st