Newcastle has thrown its hat into the ring to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.

Cities across the country have been putting their names forward to stage the annual music extravaganza since organisers revealed last month that they were in talks with the BBC to “potentially” bring the event to the UK.

Next year’s contest would have normally taken place in Ukraine after band Kalush Orchestra won the 2022 competition in Turin, but the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has ruled that the war-torn nation cannot act as host following Russia’s invasion.

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Because Sam Ryder finished as runner-up to Ukraine, the UK is in line to stage the contest.

Newcastle City Council has now confirmed that it is exploring a bid for Eurovision 2023. The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that the local authority is working with Invest Newcastle on the project, with talks having already been held with the BBC and organisers in a previous host city.

Coun Alex Hay, the council’s cabinet member responsible for tourism, 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.”

There has been no confirmation of which venue would be chosen to stage Eurovision in Newcastle, though the 11,000-capacity Utilita Arena would seem the obvious choice.

Cities are required to meet certain criteria to host the Eurovision Song Contest, including having a venue which can accommodate around 10,000 spectators.

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Any host city must also be within easy reach of an international airport and have enough hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, accredited journalists and spectators – both requirements that Newcastle would be able to meet.

2023 would come too soon for the new £300m arena and conference centre due to be built on the Gateshead Quayside.

Other UK cities to have also expressed an interest in staging the 2023 event include Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen, Belfast, Leeds, London, Birmingham and Liverpool.

Ukraine’s public broadcaster claimed last month that the EBU had “denied Ukraine the right to host Eurovision 2023” and called for the decision to be reconsidered.


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