Could Scarborough host Eurovision? Unlikely venue boasts surprising credentials for world's largest live music event at Yorkshire seaside
As towns and cities across the UK prepare bids for next year's Eurovision, England's first seaside resort could prove to be a suitable – albeit unlikely – host of the world's largest live music event.
Scarborough Borough Council appeared to jokingly throw their hat into the ring on Tuesday when they tweeted two photos of the Open Air Theatre alongside the caption: "What's that? The UK needs a venue to host Eurovision you say..."
But just how realistic are Scarborough's chances of hosting the international singing competition? The Scarborough News has taken a closer look at the requirements, and Scarborough's surprising credentials may be more suitable than at first glance.
The European Broadcasting Union said the host venue should accommodate about 10,000 spectators, have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators and be within reach of an international airport.
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Regarded as England's first seaside resort, Scarborough is home to hundreds of B&Bs, guesthouses and hotels – which have served tourists for generations – and was ranked among the UK's top two staycation holiday destinations.
Cllr Jim Grieve, Scarborough Council's cabinet member responsible for tourism, said: "We'd be delighted to host the Eurovision Song Contest in our borough.
"We are home to England's first seaside resort so we have hundreds of years of experience of welcoming people from across the world to the Yorkshire Coast.
"Scarborough's Open Air Theatre is a fantastic venue and would likely be the most unique place the competition has ever been staged."
Scarborough boasts the UK's biggest purpose-built outdoor concert arena – the Open Air Theatre – which has a capacity of 8,000 spectators and has played host to music's biggest stars, including Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears.
There is the small issue of access to an international airport, yet both Leeds Bradford Airport and Doncaster Sheffield Airport are just a two-hour drive away.
However, there is a precedent of smaller towns and venues hosting Europe's largest singing competition.
In 1993, Irish broadcaster RTE selected the town of Millstreet, with a population of just 1,500. It boasted one of the country's largest equestrian auditoriums – the Green Glens Arena – which has a capacity of 8,000; identical to Scarborough. It was also an hour from Cork Airport.
The European Broadcasting Union and the BBC announced that the United Kingdom will host Eurovision as last year's winners Ukraine are unable to, due to the ongoing war with Russia.
Martin Österdahl, Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor, said: "We're exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023."
Next year's host venue will be chosen over the next few months, following an official bidding process that will be launched this week.
Cllr Grieve added: "Although we have lots of accommodation here, we somewhat lack the international airport the Eurovision organisers are looking for.
"As there are no immediate plans to build one, it rather rules us out as a serious host.
"That said, for any international visitor who comes to the UK to watch the live show, I encourage them to build in extra time to their itinerary to visit our amazing borough."