Stockholm City hopes to earn on Eurovision
Spending to the tune of SEK 100 million, Stockholm City council is doing what it can to grab the attention of the world during next week's Eurovision Song Contest, which will be seen by over 200 million people around the world. The city hopes its investment will pay off.
By the end of last month, an enormous clock on Norrmalms Torg square was already counting down the hours, minutes and seconds until the competition.
Just under the countdown clock glitters a huge "flower", a decorated disco-ball, which even has its own fragrance.
"It is a special scent that we have produced just for this flower. It is jasmin, bergamot and some amber, if I remember correctly," says Jesper Ackinger, project manager of Stockholm City council, in charge of everything excluding the televised song contest.
This week, artists and journalists start arriving, and the rehearsals are underway in the Globen Arena just south of the city centre.
"Around 15,000 have been accredited for the event. That is construction workers, journalists, artists and people who are rehearsing beforehand. There are 1,500 journalists, 500 bloggers, and up to 3,000 fans coming to Stockholm . . . " says Jesper Ackinger.
In town, the focus is on the Eurovision Village that opens in Kungsträdgården square on Friday, but there is also a Euro fan café and Euro club situated close to the Royal Palace in the Old Town. Some pedestrian crossings have even been equipped with music, so that when there is a red light, the Swedish winner of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, Loreen's 'Euphoria' plays. And when it turns green, last year's winner, 'Hero' with Måns Zelmerlöw can be heard.
Swedish television's budget for the whole event is the same as when Malmö hosted it in 2013: SEK 125 million. Stockholm City council has added SEK 100 million to the mix, to pay for everything outside the contest itself. But the hope is that the money will be returned in the shape of an increased number of visitors to the capital. According to Jesper Ackinger, Malmö saw increased revenues of SEK 160 million.
"In the long run, it will definitely go plus for Stockholm," he tells Radio Sweden, adding, "I hope the effect will last five to ten years, because we put Stockholm on the map again, and it does create visitors."