Host City 2022: a not so open race?

In a month from now, or so, RAI will choose the city that will have the honour of hosting the 66th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Last month, the list of the 17 bidding cities was revealed with some real surprises. The next step in the bidding process is August 4th, when all bidding books, with detailed projects, have to be handled to the Italian broadcaster before a final decision is made by September.

The number of bidders is the highest since 2011, but it seems many cities (not to say villages sometimes) have considered this process as a way for free promotion abroad, since many candidates do not meet EBU standards:

  • an international airport (maximum 90mns from the venue)
  • an indoor arena wtih a minimum capacity of 8,000 (that is to say 11,500 since 25% of normal concert capacity must be saved for technical purposes)
  • 2,000 hotel rooms
  • amenities for a press centre next to the venue     etc…

Here is a table where we took 3 criteria, in order to see who is there for a win, and who is already out of the picture (according to what we know from the various bids so far).

As expected, out of the 17 bids, only 5 (Bologna, Genoa, Milan, Rome and Turin) seem to tick all the  compulsory boxes. Even though we can expect some cities to come with surprise propositions in their bidding book, the match should be between those 5.

But, what about the availability of those venues? Indeed, the chosen arena has to be available for a rather long period of 9 weeks covering most of the months of April and May 2022 (though the exact date of the contest is still unknown), and things seems to become a bit complicated for some bidders.

 

BOLOGNA (Unipol Arena) https://www.unipolarena.it

The largest indoor arena in Italy has events already planned in April and May and rescheduling would be quite difficult yet compulsory (unless the city chooses to host the contest in it’s fairground complex, BolognaFiere).

  • Apr 3,  Tommaso Paradiso
  • Apr 8-9-10, Indicasativa (Hemp fair!)
  • Apr 25, Bol On Ice
  • May 14, David Garrett
  • May 21, Eric Clapton
  • May 28, Dua Lipa

 

GENOA (Palasport):

The 1962 arena has been closed for 18 months now for a huge renovation work, but it’s expected to reopen (under the name “Nuovo Palasport”) in April 2022. Wouldn’t Eurovision be a great way to inaugurate the Ligurian capital’s new landmark? (if renovation work is done on time).

 

MILAN (Mediolanum Forum) http://mediolanumforum.it

The most popular and busiest arena of Italy is already quite booked, and rescheduling so many dates seems like a tremendous (impossible?) challenge! Just like Bologna, Milan has a second option with Palazzo delle Scintille (who needs renovation work though).

  • Apr 1-2, Negramaro
  • Apr 8, David Garrett
  • Apr 9, Pio e Amedeo
  • Apr 22, Tommaso Paradiso
  • Apr 25-26, Liberato
  • Apr 30, Irama
  • May 2-3, Modà
  • May 6, Francesco Gabbani
  • May 18, Eric Clapton
  • May 25-26, Dua Lipa

 

ROME (Palazzo dello Sport) http://www.palazzodellosportroma.it

Once again, many events are already planned, meaning that the capital city would face the same issues as Milan or Bologna: rescheduling or relocating.

  • Apr 7, Tommaso Paradiso
  • Apr 15, Pio e Amedeo
  • Apr 26, Irama
  • May 8, Francesco Gabbani
  • May 12-13-14-15, Notre Dame de Paris
  • May 26, Modà

 

TURIN (Pala Alpitour) https://www.palaalpitour.it

Quite surprisingly, and according to its website, Pala Alpitour has a very light programming next Spring. Has Turin already gotten ready to host the contest?

  • Apr 2, Sting
  • Apr 3, Maneskin
  • Apr 10, Tommaso Paradiso   (and that’s it until September!)

 

Long story short, only 5 cities can actually host the contest (if we take into account RAI criteria) and according to schedules, only two are left in the running: early favourite TURIN and an unexpected yet serious darkhorse GENOA.

But, these are just factual and objective observations and anything is still possible. The race is far from being over: some cities will most certainly come with unexpected proposals and rescheduling is still an option for some venues. Moreover, two other factors can be of some importance in this decision making (to say the least):

  • political and financial support from local authorities (city, province and region)
  • RAI production centres (only Rome, Milan, Turin and Naples have one)

For sure, unlike previous years (well since 2011 actually), no fake suspens this year, the selection of the host city will be quite exciting!

So, after Naples (1965) and Rome (1991), which city do you think will become the next Italian Eurovision city?

 

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