Eurovision in Sunderland? Councillor reveals dream for Stadium of Light to host musical extravaganza

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A Sunderland councillor wants to bring Eurovision to Wearside.

Organisers of the annual song competition are in talks with the BBC to ‘potentially host’ the 2023 event.

And city councillor Dominic McDonough wants to see the show come to Sunderland. He is urging city leaders to put together a bid to the BBC in order to bring the world’s biggest music contest to the city.

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Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the competition this year and it is traditional that the winning country hosts the event the following year.

But the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has said that following a ‘full assessment and feasibility study’ it has concluded the ‘security and operational guarantees’ required to host the event cannot be fulfilled by Ukraine’s public broadcaster UA:PBC while the Russian invasion continues.

The contest, which has a worldwide viewership of over 300million, has been hosted in a number of diverse locations over the years including Harrogate and even Millstreet, a town of only 1,500 people in 1993.

Eurovision superfan Coun McDonough said he believed Sunderland had the facilities required to host the contest and it would put the city on the map across Europe and beyond.

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“Sunderland has the facilities to host, with the Stadium of Light being a perfect venue and the Beacon of Light being a perfect space to host the press centre and Euroclub,” he said.

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra won this year's contestUkraine's Kalush Orchestra won this year's contest
Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra won this year's contest

"The amount of tourism and media interest that it would bring to the area would be a game changer. As a city we should be ambitious and this would be the ultimate prize.”

Coun McDonough, a Conservative member for St Chad’s ward, says he will be writing to city council leader and chief executive as well as to BBC executives to make the case for Sunderland, with a decision expected later this year.

Downing Street has welcomed the possibility of the UK hosting Eurovision if Ukraine cannot.

A No 10 spokesman said: “If the EBU decides the competition can’t go ahead in Ukraine we would of course welcome the opportunity to work closely with Ukraine and the BBC to host it here in the UK.”