Eurovision 2019: Tel Aviv a likely host city, says Israeli official

by Jessica Weaver 4,310 views

Eilat, Haifa, Jerusalem or Tel Aviv? According to Israel’s Finance Ministry official, it’s the latter city which will most probably become the host for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. But with so much discussion surrounding Jerusalem, why the change to Tel Aviv?

Earlier last week, the Israeli team for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest met at the EBU headquarters in Geneva, kicking off preparations for the upcoming competition. Preparations included discussing the official host city bidding process for the event, in which a supposed 4 cities are currently in contention to host the competition.

Following Netta and Israel’s win in Lisbon last month, where the singer proclaimed the host city as being Jerusalem, discussions have been underway with the city in question reportedly remaining high on the list of possibilities.

Tel Aviv venue meets requirements

With talks underway and bids currently being prepared, a senior Finance Ministry official has revealed that, currently, only one site in the country meets all of the contest’s production requirements, that being the Tel Aviv Convention Centre in Tel Aviv at the New Pavilion 2.

The new Pavilion 2 at the Tel Aviv Convention Centre | © Amit Giron

In a description on the official Tel Aviv Fairgrounds website, the New Pavilion 2 is a “smart, versatile space […] which allows every dream to come true”.

The pavilion in question stretches across 50,000 square metres and reaches 20 metres in height, able to accommodate for a number of events. The website adds that the venue can host large scale stage performances, ideal for an event like the Eurovision Song Contest.

One disadvantage of the venue is its audience capacity, which currently stands at an estimated 10,000, below Lisbon’s capacity of 18,000. Whether this can be expanded is still in question.

Budget and schedule discussions underway

According to Haaretz, the Israeli national broadcaster – KAN – is currently in negotiations with the treasury regarding the budget for the upcoming event, which is expected to cost between 60 million and 80 million shekels (14.3 million to 19 million euros).

As well as this, a schedule for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is also in discussion, as was revealed previously during KAN’s EBU meeting last week.

The schedule consists of rehearsals dates, which will run over the course of a month on all days of the week. A recreation area for fans should also be set up during the Eurovision week, in the form of a Eurovision Village, which would operate throughout the week.

Due to this, it is reported that it would be difficult for a city such a Jerusalem to host the event. The resignation of the city’s mayor, Nir Barkat, also adds to the stress of submitting a suitable bid for the hosting rights, according to the senior Finance Ministry official.

Haifa still a possibility?

Haaretz continues that the city of Haifa is also a consideration, with the Sammy Ofer Stadium being the venue in question for the city, however clashes within the production schedule during the football season may be an issue for the potential bidding city.

Discussions and the bidding process is still well into its early stages currently, with bids set to be put forward over the next number of months. A final decision, along with the official dates for the competition, are expected in the month of September.