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Liverpool Calling: The Results Are In

Ground-breaking research has found that hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 delivered a £54million economic boost to the Liverpool City Region.

In a first for any Eurovision Song Contest host city, a Multi-Agency Evaluation Steering Group led by Liverpool City Council, has commissioned five in-depth, independent evaluations – the interim results of which will be announced today (Thursday 26 October) by Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Liam Robinson and Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram.

The reports looked at the economic and social impact of staging the event on behalf of Ukraine, as well as the influence on cultural relations; the impact on wellbeing in the city and the wider city region; the visitor experience and the effectiveness of the strategic collaboration between delivery agencies.

Key data highlights include:

The Big Numbers

  • Eurovision boosted the Liverpool City Region economy by £54.8million (net) with restaurants, accommodation providers, shops, bars and transport networks all benefitting.
  • In total 473,000 people attended Eurovision events in the city, with 306,000 additional visitors heading to Liverpool to be part of the celebrations.
  • In May, 175,000 city centre hotel rooms were sold – the best month on record since 2018. (STEAM data)

Culture Counts

  • The education and community programmes, EuroStreet and EuroLearn, engaged with 367 organisations and directly with 50,000 people, young and old. The overall programme is estimated to have reached 2 million people.
  • EuroFestival – the Culture Liverpool curated two-week culture festival – presented 24 brand new commissions, 19 of which were in collaboration with Ukrainian artists. A huge 328,346 people engaged with this programme – 557 artists, 1,750 participants involved in a commission and an audience number of 326,039.
  • The official Eurovision Village, located at the Pier Head attracted 250,000 visitors across the ten days it was open, with the ticketed final selling out within hours.

Visitor’s Views

  • Visitors to Liverpool reported an overwhelmingly positive experience. In a survey, 89 per cent of those questioned, felt it was a safe event and 88 per cent praised its inclusivity. A whopping 96 per cent of those surveyed would recommend Liverpool as a destination to visit and 42 per cent of overseas visitors said the city’s staging of the event had a positive impact on how they viewed the UK.
  • The official Eurovision Fan Club – the OGAEs – carried out a survey and found that 99 per cent of their members felt welcomed in the city and 98 per cent loved the undeniable festival atmosphere.

Resident’s Reaction

  • There was a huge amount of pride around Liverpool being the host city, with 80 per cent of residents noting how important it was for Liverpool and a further 93 per cent saying they were pleased with how the city delivered the event.
  • Of those questioned, 74 per cent were enthusiastic about Liverpool hosting on behalf of Ukraine and 71 per cent felt that the city’s leading role promoted positive feelings across all of the participating nations.

People Power

  • An impressive 475 people provided 12,000 hours of volunteering, covering 350 shifts. The majority (90 per cent) were from the North West of England, and 30 were Ukrainian.
  • A Eurovision job recruitment fair saw 394 jobs offered in one day.
  • A partnership between the BBC and Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts saw 145 students become part of the Eurovision production – in roles such as on stage dancers in the live shows, costume makers or in the TV production team.

Read all about it

  • Between the period of October 2022, when Liverpool was announced as host city, until end of May 2023, more than 280,000 pieces of global news coverage were generated.
  • The three live BBC shows were watched by 162 million people.

Keep Liverpool Tidy

  • More than 50,000 tonnes of waste was collected throughout the Eurovision period, 80 per cent of which could be recycled.

The independent reports were:

  • Economic Impact – Commissioned by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council. The research was compiled by AMION Consulting.
  • Community and Wellbeing – Commissioned by Liverpool City Council and funded by Spirit of 2012 and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The research was carried out by University of Liverpool.
  • Cultural Diplomacy – Commissioned by Liverpool City Council and funded by British Council and DCMS. The British Council led on the research along with the University of Hull, and consultants from Universities of Brighton, Southampton and Royal Holloway (University of London).
  • Nightlife – Funded and compiled by Liverpool John Moores University.
  • Multi–Agency Working – Led by Edge Hill University.

Along with these reports, the BBC has commissioned its own Eurovision Highlights Report.

To bring together the findings of the reports, Liverpool City Council’s Public Health team commissioned The Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place to compile the headline findings. This comprehensive overview can be found at the Heseltine Institute website.

The interim findings of these reports will be discussed at a special one-day Eurovision event taking place at ACC Liverpool today (Thursday 26 October).

Head to the official Liverpool Calling website for full details of the day which will include panels with the Liverpool Host City team who will give an insight into the complexities of staging an event of this scale. This is a Liverpool City Council event supported by the Liverpool BID Company and The ACC Liverpool Group.

Follow @CultureLpool on Twitter, @CultureLiverpool on Facebook and @culture_liverpool on Instagram for the latest updates as well as using #LiverpoolCalling on social media.

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Liam Robinson, said:

“The whirlwind that was Eurovision, gave this city an unparalleled stage where it could showcase not just its organisational prowess, but also its heart and soul.

“From the outset, we put plans in place to evaluate everything we programmed in order to have a thorough understanding of the impact of major events.

“The visitor and economic figures speak for themselves – jobs were created, local businesses were on the receiving end of a much-needed boost and hundreds of thousands of people came to the city, had a great time and are more than likely to return again.

“My mantra is proud but never satisfied. These comprehensive reports give us the opportunity to reflect on what was achieved over an incredibly short period of time, but more importantly we can look at lessons learnt for the next time we host a major event. And this is Liverpool, so there will definitely be a next time.

“Knowing the financials and the visitor numbers is always a great indicator of success, but with Eurovision we wanted to do more. As the first host city ever to introduce a school and community programme dedicated to Eurovision, we needed to drill into what that really meant for people – did it make a positive difference to their lives and as a result to our city? Never before has any other location commissioned such a detailed analysis, and it goes without saying that our methodology can be adopted by locations across the world which is a real badge of honour for Liverpool.

“This collective research proves that events like Eurovision can transcend boundaries, leaving a legacy of inspiration and goodwill. It was a milestone moment in our city’s history, and now we’re more than ready for the next one.”

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said:
“There was never a doubt in my mind as to whether our region was up to the challenge of hosting a global spectacle like Eurovision on behalf of our friends in Ukraine – because nowhere does culture bigger or better than the Liverpool City Region. From the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flocked to our region for a fortnight of fun and frivolity, to the tens of millions around the world who tuned in, we gave millions of people a Eurovision they will never forget.

“While that’s an incredible result in itself, the contest was also a vital shot in the arm for our local economy, bringing in more than £54m, creating thousands of jobs and opportunities for local people and showcasing our brand to an international audience. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of everyone who truly embraced the Eurovision spirit and made our visitors feel so welcome. I said all along that nowhere can throw a party quite like us – and now we have the results to prove it!”

Liverpool’s Director of Culture, Claire McColgan CBE, said:

“We experienced this Eurovision-high as a result of cultural back catalogue.

“We have spent years working towards what we all experienced in May – we cut our teeth during our European Capital of Culture year and from that point we have grown exponentially in confidence and ability as year-on-year we continue to deliver events that rival any other on the world stage.

“The pandemic was a real line in the sand for us, and undoubtedly Liverpool’s role in leading the charge on the reopening of venues nationwide made us stand out from the crowd – we are recognised as a city that can deliver unforgettable moments, safely, quickly and with a scouse panache that simply can’t be replicated anywhere else.

“Quite simply, it was an honour to deliver Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine and the UK. I’ve never known time move so fast as it did across those seven months and it has been a real pleasure to digest these impact reports and relive the experience once again and reassure myself it wasn’t just a crazy dream! They underline the fact Liverpool has the skill, agency-wide teamwork and the creativity to deliver time and time again.

“So I’d like to say to everyone – whether you worked on the event, donned those iconic yellow hoodies and volunteered, performed on stage or on our streets, danced at the Village, sang along at the arena or perhaps you discovered more about Ukraine in the classroom or even helped evaluate the event – thank you. You made Eurovision. Liverpool made Eurovision. We were all united by music.”

Eurovision Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“It is fantastic to see the impact that hosting the Eurovision Song Contest has had on Liverpool. The city put on a fantastic display of culture and creativity, showing solidarity with our friends in Ukraine and highlighting what unites us all.

“This research demonstrates the positive impact of hosting major events and I hope that we can continue to build on this success.”

Tim Jones, the University of Liverpool’s Vice-Chancellor said:

“Today’s announcement gives us much to be proud of. It was the University’s Heseltine Institute that compiled the data that this success is judged on and it was our academics who played an important role in carrying out a key strand of research. But as a civic institution, we are immensely proud of the city of Liverpool. Our city put on a show like no other and I am delighted to see these positive results that I’m sure will have a lasting legacy for those who live, work, study and do business here.”

Rhiannon Corcoran, Professor of Psychology and Public Mental Health University of Liverpool said:

“Our survey was designed to understand Eurovision’s impact on the wellbeing and sense of community of local residents. The data we collected shows overwhelmingly positive feelings of pride in the city. I’m sure many people will recognise and understand how this is hugely beneficial to wellbeing.”

Sue Jarvis, Co-Director at the Heseltine Institute said:

“At the Heseltine Institute we were delighted to work with partners across the city to publish this summary of the comprehensive evaluation of what Eurovision achieved for our city.

“Liverpool has a long history of hosting and learning from major events, and these evaluations will help developing understanding of the key lessons from Eurovision 2023.

“While the full legacy will emerge over time, it was fantastic to see that the positive impacts of Eurovision exceeded expectations. Eurovision not only brought immense financial and cultural benefits to the city but also enhanced the view of Liverpool across the UK, Europe and the world.”

Phil Harrold, BBC Chief of Staff and Chair of 2023 City Selection Group, said:
“When the BBC selected Liverpool to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 we knew that the city would deliver with a passion and enthusiasm that was second to none. The incredible numbers proven in this research, coupled with our own record-breaking audience figures, demonstrate that 2023 was indeed the most successful Eurovision ever and is testament to all who played a part in bringing this year’s Song Contest to life.”

Amy Finch – Head of Policy & Influencing, Spirit of 2012, said:

“We are proud to see the headline statistics from the Eurovision evaluations show tremendous benefits for Liverpool. Particularly, we are delighted to see the amazing reach of EuroLearn and the effects of cultural engagement inspiring civic pride in Liverpool residents. Liverpool has once again proven itself to be a world class host city and we must ensure that the impact of Eurovision in communities will endure for years to come.”

Dr Rebecca Phythian, Reader in Policing at Edge Hill University, said:

“Having behind the scenes access to see first-hand the partnership working that goes into staging multi-agency operations like Eurovision was incredible. Since then, we’ve been working with practitioners from Merseyside Police, Culture Liverpool, BBC and many of the other organisations involved to identify what worked well and what could be done differently, all to inform future large-scale operations.”

Mike Smith, Edge Hill University’s Senior Lecturer in Policing, said:

“We found that trust and co-location were key to effective information sharing and multi-agency working. This was supported by building new, and strengthening existing, relationships, and ensured a joint understanding of risk and situational awareness.”