The search is underway for the UK town or city to host next year’s Eurovision song contest.

Europe’s biggest singing competition is set to be held in the UK next year with 2022 winners Ukraine unable to host because of the ongoing war in their country.

The bidding process is now underway to find a host for the 2023 competition, with the North East sure to make an ideal location for such a massive event, and keep the government’s promises of levelling up.

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The Northern Echo has rounded up some of the North East venues which could be ideal to host next year’s Eurovision.

What are the requirements?

Before we can look at the venues which would be ideal to stage the competition, there are a few key requirements for potential hosts to meet.

For last year’s competition the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said that any host venue needed to hold at least 10,000 spectators, a press centre for 1,500 journalists and should be in reach of an international airport and hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 people.

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It’s not clear from criteria listed online whether the venue must be fully indoors, which means the North East could have a wide range of stadiums that could host the event

The six North East venues which could be perfect to host Eurovision

1. Utilita Arena, Newcastle

The Northern Echo: Archive image: The Arena in Newcastle, now named the Utilita Arena. Picture: DAVID WOODArchive image: The Arena in Newcastle, now named the Utilita Arena. Picture: DAVID WOOD (Image: DAVID WOOD/NORTHERN ECHO)

Possibly the obvious choice would be the Utilita Arena in Newcastle with a capacity of 11,000 making it the perfect size to host the competition.

There are also plenty of hotels in and around the city to host 2,000 delegates and Newcastle Airport is just 20 minutes away. It also has a large car park on site so there’s plenty of room to build extra dressing rooms and technical areas if needed.

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2. Stadium of Light, Sunderland

The Northern Echo: The Stadium of LightThe Stadium of Light

As we mentioned, it’s not clear online whether a venue to host Eurovision has to be fully indoors, and so some of the North East’s stadiums could make ideal locations. There could also be the possibility of building a temporary roof structure over stadiums to keep the rain out.

The Stadium of Light is also no stranger to large music events, having hosted Elton John and Ed Sheeran this summer, with 60,000 fans packing out the venue meaning it would certainly be big enough for Eurovision.

3. St James Park, Newcastle

The Northern Echo: Picture: NNPPicture: NNP

Another stadium which could play host is St James Park in Newcastle. With an even larger capacity than the Stadium of Light and just as easy access to hotels and Newcastle Airport this could be an ideal choice.

4. Mowden Park, Darlington

The Northern Echo: Mowden Park has hosted gigs in the past. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTMowden Park has hosted gigs in the past. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Darlington’s Mowden Park also has a large enough capacity to host Eurovision, with 25,000 seats and an even bigger capacity including the pitch.

The stadium is also no stranger to music events, hosting Simply Red next weekend (Saturday August 13). Hotel capacity may be slightly more difficult for Mowden Park, but Teesside Airport is just a stones throw away meaning it has good access to the rest of Europe.

5. Sage Arena

The Northern Echo: The new arena is currently being built on the Gateshead Quayside.The new arena is currently being built on the Gateshead Quayside.

The new arena currently being built on the Gateshead Quayside would be the perfect location to host the Eurovision song contest.

The venue, which is currently under construction, is set to have a 12,500 capacity arena, two conference halls with almost 8000 sqm of space and two new hotels with more than 300 bedroom meaning it would have plenty of space to stage the competition.

It is also close to Newcastle Airport and hosting the event could put the new venue on the map.

Sadly the arena is currently expected to be completed in 2024 meaning it will not be ready for next year’s Eurovision but would be the perfect venue to host the contest in the future.

6. Harrogate Convention Centre

The Northern Echo: Harrogate Convention Centre hosted the contest in 1982.Harrogate Convention Centre hosted the contest in 1982. (Image: LDRS)

Harrogate Convention Centre hosted the Eurovision song contest in 1982. Earlier this week a convention centre spokesperson said: “Eurovision 1982 put Harrogate on the world map.

“We are very proud of that history and are always delighted to host major events in our beautiful spa town.

However, the convention centre has ruled itself out from a bid for 2023 as its capacity is just 2,000 and now falls short of the requirements to host the contest.

When will we find out who's hosting Eurovision 2023?

The BBC has confirmed that the process to select the host city for the 2023 contest will begin this week.

It will manage the bidding along with the EBU and expects it to be completed by the autumn.

The BBC said relevant information for prospective hosts will be issued shortly and host cities wanting information packs should make contact via an allocated email address.

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