How much will the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna cost is still hard to predict. Yet, it is forecasted that the total sum will add up to around 25 million euros. The Austrian national broadcaster ORF, however, will not bear these costs alone, as indirect regional profitability from the event shall also be taken into account, for which the city of Vienna will need to pitch in as well.
The exact budget for the event is scheduled to be presented to the public in October, but a considerable number of Viennese have already revolted about the speculated figures. This comes just a few weeks after Copenhagen announced that the costs for this year’s event ended up triple of the budget allocated for carrying out the contest in Denmark’s capital last spring.
In retrospect, the German broadcaster ARD used up around 12 million euros for the event in Düsseldorf in 2011. A year before that, the Norwegian broadcaster spent a bit over 16 million euros, whilst the end figures for Moscow catapulted to an estimated 31 million euros, which was higher than the expenditures for the following two events in Oslo and Düsseldorf combined.
Less transparent was the public spending for the contest in Azerbaijan in 2012, where the government ‘used’ the mega venue to build a colossal event hall ‒ Baku Crystal Hall ‒ on the shores of the Caspian Sea, which ended up to have cost the country a staggering 100 million euros. Officially, Azerbaijan never provided its public the outlay on the disposition of funds for the event, but the East-West Research Centre in Baku estimated that the costs for the ESC preparation, which included the construction of new roads and a waterfront promenade to the Crystal Hall, were around half a billion euros.
Smaller in size and budget was the 2013 event in Malmö, where the Malmö Arena welcomed some 12,000 spectators, which was significantly lower in numbers compared to the Düsseldorf Arena, hosting more than 36,000 guests. The budget for the venue in the ‘capital’ of the Swedish southernmost province Skåne was around 18 million euros ‒ comparable to the spending in Oslo.
Last autumn, the Danish broadcaster DR allocated approximately 4.6 million euros for carrying out the event in Copenhagen this year. In the end, the ‘conversion’ of the city’s industrial site Refshaleøen into a so-called Eurovision Island seemed to have been much costlier than anticipated. This was mainly due to serious time pressure and lack of experience in construction projects, which led to the resignation of the former CEO of Wonderful Copenhagen, Mikkel Metz Mørch, last week.
Will ORF’s preliminary cost predictions for preparing and holding the Eurovision Song Contest next May be as well planned and sorted out as, for instance, the venue in Düsseldorf in 2011? This is left out to be judged only after the event. The Eurovision community will have to wait until October to see what funds the Austrian ESC Organising Committee will have on its disposal for next spring. The anticipated budget figures for the contest will hopefully cover for an evermore magnificent and spectacular event which is to be expected from Europe’s music mecca ‒ Vienna.