The Eurovision Song Contest 2003 will be held on the 24th of May 2003, in the Skonto Hall, five minutes from the city centre of Riga.
The announcement was made by Eurovision Song Contest 2003 executive director Mr Arvids Babris of Latvian Television LTV, who was also the person to confirm, immediately after singer Marija Naumova won in May this year, that LTV would host the 2003 Contest.
The venue is situated five minutes from the centre of Riga (by car), and has a history of hosting national exhibitions and competitions.
Yesterday, LTV's “Eurovision” steering committee and government's task force evaluated both received bids, submitted by “Skonto” and Kipsala Exhibition Center. All eight members of the committee unanimously voted for “Skonto”.
A serious argumentation in favour of the Skonto hall (not Kipsala) was a letter from the Riga Police Administration on keeping the peace in both centres. The European Broadcasting Union also approved LTV's choice.
“We must take into consideration that 6,000 spectators will be watching the
concert in the hall and 166 million will be watching the television broadcast. Therefore it is a most valid point”, said Minister of Culture and Acting Prime Minister Karina Petersone today.
Improvements on the Skonto Hall were planned earlier, but the organizing of the song contest would speed up the process. Firstly, the talks on the improvement of acoustic systems are to be launched.