Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/Scanpix.

Eurovision bill "worth it" for Malmö

"It was a great experience for us"
5:08 min

The Danish capital Copenhagen is gearing up to host tomorrow's Eurovision final, and Swedish singer Sanna Nielsen is one of the hot favourites. But hosting the contest doesn't come cheap for the organisers.

Most of the headlines in the Danish press in the run-up to the contest this year have been about the competition's budget. The choice to hold the event in an old shipyard with huge renovation needs has meant that the budget has been broken time and time again, leaving local politicians grumbling that they have to pick up the bill.

Even though it is a TV show, the financing of the contest is usually split. The national television station takes care of the show itself, while the local authorities, and ultimately the local taxpayers, pay for the infrastructure around the event.

Last year the show was held in Malmö, Sweden, just across the water from Copenhagen. There Malmö City Council and the local region of Skåne were the ones in charge of the event, they managed to stick to budget, just about, and tourism director Johan Hermansson from the local council says it was well worth the money.

"Oh yes, it was worth it", he told Radio Sweden. "Every minute and every day was a great experience for us. And I would say we have managed to keep it in mind over the past year. It has been on our agenda a lot of times."

The contest ended up costing Malmö City Council and Region Skåne SEK 28 million krona. That is two million more than originally budgeted, and according to auditors that was mostly because more people than expected came to the various events around the city, meaning that the bill for security went up.

But there weren't only expenses for the city. There are estimates that the over 30,000 fans that descended on Malmö spent around SEK 185 million on hotels, food and shopping, and according to tourism director Johan Hermansson hosting the contest also had a less concrete effect for the city.

"We try to see it as an investment", he says, "This was an investment with quite a good return. We got the experience, we learned how to co-operate. We did something together that made Malmö more proud. I think this is something we can learn from for the future."

Now could it be the turn of a Swedish city to host the huge event again next year? Sweden's Sanna Nielsen is one of the favourites with her ballad "undo", and that could mean that Sweden gets to organise the contest next year. Would Malmö place a bid? Johan Hermansson is diplomatic in his answer. "My heart says yes, I'm sure that there are a lot of hearts that say yes."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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