Eurovision 2019: Are we heading to Jerusalem? Check out the potential host cities and venues

by Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani 5,826 views

Last Saturday saw Israel win the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest for the fourth time in the history of the competition, Netta was crowned the winner and will bring the Eurovision razmatazz with all its glitz, glamour and glitter to Israel for the 3rd time! But where are we heading to next year? Which city will have the grand honour of hosting the contest in 2019?

Crash, boom, bang! The search for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest host city and venue has started…

Jerusalem seems to be the frontrunner to host the competition next year in Israel. If confirmed as host city, Jerusalem will welcome the Eurovision bandwagon for the 3rd time.

Jerusalem has hosted Eurovision twice in 1979 and 1999

After winning the competition Netta invited everyone to Jerusalem for the upcoming contest:

Next year in Jerusalem!

The Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Benjamin Netenyahu has also stated that the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will be heading to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem 2 time Eurovision host

Jerusalem has hosted the Eurovision Song Contest twice alredy, namely in 1979 and 1999, both times in the same venue- the ICC (International Convention Centre) aka the Binyanei HaUma. Today the venue is too small to host the event as the competition has grown immensely and hosting such an mega event today entails larger infrastructure and logistics in comparison to the last time the city welcomed the event.

The opening of the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is indeed the hot favorite to host the mega event next year, the city is well connected and has a great hotel capacity and 2 strong potential venues.

Majestic city of Jerusalem

Potential venues in Jerusalem

There are 2 pontential venues in Jerusalem which can host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest ; the Jerusalem Pais Arena and the Teddy Stadium. Both venues are located next to each another in Jerusalem’s Malha district.

Pais Arena

Pais Arena in Jerusalem

The Jerusalem Pais Arena is one of the potential venues in Jerusalem and a strong contender to host the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. The indoor arena was inaugurated in 2014 and can accomodate between 11,000-15,000 persons. The venue has hosted numerous musical concerts, sports events, cultural shows etc. It is the largest indoor venue in Jerusalem.

Aerial view of Pais Arena

Teddy Stadium

Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem

The Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem is another strong candidate to host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest with a capacity of circa 30,000 persons. The stadium lacks a roof, but the City of Jerusalem is ready to cover the premises and build a roof if the stadium ends up being chosen as the 2019 Eurovision venue.

This would not be the first time that the Eurovision Song Contest would be held in a soccer stadium as the 2001 and 2011 editions were both held in a soccer stadium. In 2001 Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium built a roof specially to host the Eurovision Song Contest.

Teddy  Stadium opened its doors in 1992 and has undergone renovations twice.

Teddy Stadium- aerial view

Other potential host cities

Tel Aviv

The Menora Mitvachim Stadium in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, known to many the as partying city of Israel, can very well host the competion at the Menora Mitvachim Arena. The venue can accomodate circa 10,000 persons. Tel Aviv has both an international airport and a large hotel capacity to accomodate the Eurovision bandwagon and fans. The city boasts with a grand variety of restaurants and is one of the hottest nightlife hubs in the country, often described as the city that never sleeps!

Tel Aviv would be an ideal host city as it is internationally acclaimed for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful seafront promenades, sandy beaches and happening party scene. The city is very popular amongst youngsters!

The Menora Mitvachim Arena, formerly known as the Nokia Arena, is located in southern Tel Aviv. The arena was constructed in 1963 and has hosted many sports events and musical concerts.

Haifa

Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa

The seaside port city of Haifa, located in the north of Israel could also be another potential host city. Haifa’s Sami Ofer Stadium has a capacity of circa 30,000 persons. The stadium as the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem also lacks a roof, one of the key requirements of the EBU is that the Eurovision Song Contest can only be held in an indoor covered venue. The Sami Ofer Stadium was inaugurated in 2014 and has hosted many soccer matches in the country.

Be’er-Sheva

Be’er Sheva can also be another option to host Europe’s favorite television show at the Turner Stadium, which has a capacity of circa 16,000 persons. Then again this venue as Haifa’s Sami Ofer Stadium and Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium would require a roof in order to host the competition. The Turner Stadium is relativelya new venue, having opened its doors in 2015.

Eurovision  2019 dates and host city

The EBU and 2019 Eurovision host broadcaster Kan are yet to officially announce the dates for the fothcoming 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and the name of the host city. It is unclear if there will be a bidding competition in order to determine the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest host city as has been the case in the past years.

The EBU’s Eurovision Committee ie Reference Group will be travelling to Israel in due course to kick off discussions and preparations for the forthcoming 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.

We must not forget that in order to host the competition the host city is required to fulfill various requirements including the following:

  • International airport with international flight connections
  • Arena with a capacity of circa 10,000 persons
  • A good and efficient transport system
  • Hotel capacity to accomodate delegations, press, fans etc.
  • Social program for Eurovision side events
  • Venues to house the Euroclub, Eurovision Village, Press Centre etc.
  • Logistics and infrastructure to host the event
  • Security measures guaranteeing the safety of delegations, fans, journalists, visitors during the ESC period

Tel Aviv vs Jerusalem

Both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem can very well host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest as both cities have a large hotel capacity, the required infrastructure and logistics, transport system and venues ready to host the competition. Ben Gurion International Airport lies 15 km south of Tel Aviv and is next to the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, thus offering great connections with both cities. The  airport is well connected to both cities via the Israeli Rail System, enabling travellers to access Tel Aviv and Jerusalem easily.

Israel in Eurovision

Israel debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973 with Ilanit and has won the competition four times (1978, 1979, 1998 and 2018).

The country has hosted the event only twice ( 1979, 1999), taking into account it has won the competition thrice. Israel declined to host the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest for a second consecutive year, which was eventually held in The Hague, Netherlands. Gali Atari and Milk & Honey were crowned the winners of the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest on home soil in Jerusalem with their entry Hallelujah.

Some of the country’s biggest stars have graced the Eurovision stage throughout the years: Avi Toledano (1982), Ofra Haza (1983), Harel Skaat (2010), Shiri Maimon (2006), Orna and Moshe Datz ( 1991), Gali Atari (1979), Dana International (1998), Ilanit (1973, 1977), Liora (1995), Yardena Arazi (1976, 1988) Yizhar Cohen (1978, 1985), Saraleh Sharon (1993), Mira Awad (2009), Rita (1990), Sarit Hadad (2002), Noa (2009) etc.

Netta conquered Europe last weekened with her epic Eurovision entry Toy and gave Israel its fourth Eurovision victory. Thus Israel joins The Netherlands who has also won the competition on four ocassions.

 

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