Ireland: RTÉ reveals breakdown of Eurovision 2018 costs

by Eleanor Welsh 2,116 views

RTÉ have revealed that they spent over €300,000 to send Ryan O’Shaughnessy to the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

The broadcaster has provided a breakdown for €177,779 of the spend, but refused to reveal how much was spent directly on performers, including the dancers, backing singers and Ryan himself. According to The Irish Sun, the total came to “approximately €304,088”.

RTÉ sent a team of 18 people to Lisbon, Portugal, for the two week duration of the rehearsals, preparation and the competition.

RTÉ breakdown (most) costs

The costs have been broken down as follows. The production costs – including design, set pieces, lighting props and pyrotechnics – came to €27,190.

The accommodation bill came to €42,355 with RTÉ noting: “Delegates are always required to stay in officially designated hotels only.”

The bill for economy class flights was €8,483, while another €663 went on airport parking and taxis. There was a “representation” bill of €1,594 with food and subsistence costing €13,632.

RTÉ also had to pay a fee of €83,861 to the European Broadcasting Union.

RTÉ told press that the cost was down to producing an act to “represent Ireland in the biggest entertainment show in the world, to a standard that we can be proud of in front of an average audience of 189 million viewers”. The station also said:

The Eurovision Song Contest provided seven and a half hours of live entertainment content – broken down the cost per hour was €44,197 – which by TV production standards represents very good value for money.

Earn to artist?

Details of a further spend of €126,309 was reportedly unaccounted for by the station, with one category not being revealed  – the amount of cash given to performers.

They have only told press that they could not release information on “additional costs associated with the artists (performers), who are independent contractors” as this was “commercially sensitive”.

If further costs were released, it could result in material loss to the artists (performers) and could discourage them, and other artists (performers), from seeking to work with RTE.

Of the delegation, the six artists – Ryan O’Shaughnessy, dancers Alan McGrath and Kevin O’Dwyer plus backing vocalists Claire-Ann Varley, Janet Grogan and Remy Naidoo – were there for two weeks from 29 April to 13 May as were the head of delegation, tour manager, stylist, choreographer and sound engineer.

Additional delegation members, such as a commentator Marty Whelan, broadcast co-ordinator, photographer and Head of Press travelled on various dates thereafter as the duties of their roles were required. The delegation also included a vocal coach and the two songwriters.

Less spent than in 2017

The bill is less than the €331,482 spent by RTÉ on sending the team of 16 people, including Brendan Murray and his hot air balloon, to Ukraine for two weeks in 2017.

Michael Kealy, Irish Head of Delegation, said:

We are very proud of the Irish performance this year, months of work went into planning our Eurovision act, bringing together the various audio and visual elements, from choreography to lighting design and music production. We are always very conscious of getting the best value for the money we spend, while also endeavouring to produce a world class act which will represent Ireland on the Eurovision stage to an audience of nearly 200 million people.

Together placed 16th in the final which is the best result since Jedward came in eighth place in Dussledorf with Lipstick in 2011.

An average of 416,000 viewers in Ireland tuned in over the course of the three nights representing a 34 per cent share of the audience figures.

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