Stockholm bid for Eurovision 2016 host city loses two arenas
SVT, the national broadcaster of Sweden and the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest host broadcaster, wishes to make a host city decision by the end of August.
Up until now, Stockholm has been seen as the obvious winner, with three suitable venues for the big shows.
Tele2 and Friends drop out
What seemed like a strong bid for Eurovision host city by Stockholm could now be crumbling. The two brand new and modern arenas of the Swedish capital, the Tele2 Arena and Friends Arena, have both become unavailable for Eurovision.
It is the long period needed for Eurovision that has come in the way. It is necessary for the Eurovision organizers to start working in the venue up to six weeks before the live shows, in order to install everything needed. This would interfere with the local soccer teams that use the arenas as their home fields, and the soccer teams are not comfortable moving their matches for such a long period of time. As they have already signed contracts with the arenas, it is in their control.
According to the soccer team AIK, the Friends Arena management has outright said they do not want Eurovision. This is in spite of hosting the final of the Swedish Eurovision selection Melodifestivalen every year since 2013. A very similar thing happened to Denmark in their Eurovision selection process prior to Eurovision 2014, when the preferred venue Parken, a large soccer stadium, did not want to move soccer matches to accommodate the Eurovision scheduling demands.
With the two arenas gone, Stockholm is left with Globen, the venue of Eurovision 2000.
The competitors around Sweden
When Sweden and Loreen won Eurovision in Baku, Stockholm was considered such an obvious choice to host Eurovision 2013 that many booked flights and hotels right away. The bomb dropped in the summer of 2012, when the third-largest city Malmö was selected instead.
It is a repeat of this story that other Swedish cities are now hoping for. Several sources have stated that Malmö does not want the contest again, but Göteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city, and Linköping, the seventh-largest, are interested. Both cities are actively working on their Eurovision bids to present to SVT, Göteborg with the Scandinavium Arena, which previously hosted Eurovision in 1985, and Linköping with the SAAB Arena, which has hosted four Melodifestivalen semi-finals.
Stockholm is not dead yet
While rumors have said that SVT wanted the Tele2 Arena for the shows, Globen is still a strong contender.
When Sweden last won Eurovision back in 2012, one of the main ideas of the 2013 show was to make it smaller and more intimate, with a smaller budget. Christer Björkman, the Swedish head of delegation and head of show for Eurovision 2013, has once again expressed a desire to lower the costs of the show and downscale the size. Both the Tele2 and Friends venues are much larger than Malmö Arena, and while SVT has previously split the Friends Arena in half for Melodifestivalen to make it smaller, it makes the smaller Globen an obvious choice. If hockey matches do not get in the way, that is.
The decision of what Swedish city and venue will host the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 is expected no later than August 31.