Eurovision: what will the long-term social impact be?

Posted on 21 April 2023
By Khyle Deen
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A series of evaluation studies are taking place to determine the social impact of Eurovision 2023 – which is being hosted by Liverpool and broadcast by the BBC on behalf of Ukraine – on wellbeing, cultural legacy and the economy.

Eurovision isn’t just about douze points, amazing outfits and catchy tunes – but gives researchers the perfect opportunity to evaluate the legacy of hosting.

Four separate studies will look at the impact the Contest has on the Liverpool City Region and across the whole of the UK, including on residents. This will help researchers to understand the scale and extent of these impacts, which in turn helps in the bidding for, planning of, and delivery of future large scale events and cultural activity.

Economic Impact:

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, working in partnership with Liverpool City Council, DCMS and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have commissioned AMION Consulting Ltd to undertake an Economic Impact Assessment of the event.

Looking at both the immediate and short-term legacy (one year on) on the local economy, the commission will seek to understand the impact on increased investment, tourism and upskilling within the creative industries across Liverpool, the Liverpool City Region, and the North West.

Exploring the Cultural Relations and Soft Power:

This research explores two questions: Eurovision’s role in developing shared values and mutual relationships during a time of conflict; and the role and impact of Eurovision within city/nation branding and soft power.

The research has been commissioned by the British Council in partnership with Liverpool City Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The project is led by the University of Hull with a team of consultants from the University of Brighton, the University of Southampton and Royal Holloway (University of London).

Understanding and addressing risk related night-life behaviour:

Liverpool John Moores University is undertaking research to look into the health risk of behaviours associated with nightlife during the Eurovision period.

A survey will examine individuals’ past, present and future use of alcohol and drugs – as well as looking at sexual behaviours, exposure to anti-social behaviour and violence and feelings of safety during Eurovision week.

Wellbeing and Sense of Community:

The University of Liverpool, working in partnership with Liverpool City Council, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Spirit of 2012 are delivering an evaluation programme looking at whether hosting the song contest will impact the wellbeing and sense of community of local residents.

Beginning with baseline and follow-up surveys, around 1,300 residents will be asked about their engagement with Eurovision and its associated community events. The survey will investigate whether this has contributed to improved wellbeing, sense of civic pride and citizenship.

This will be followed by focus groups of people contributing or attending Eurovision events. These will explore people’s thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards Eurovision 2023 and what it has achieved for them, the City Region and for the people of Ukraine.

Steering Group:

The overall evaluation steering group is made up of key partners, both nationally and from across Liverpool City Region – each overseeing different work programmes.

Each work stream will result in a final report – with all findings collated and summarised at a later date, as a way of demonstrating the value of cultural events and activities like Eurovision to the City.

The Steering Group partners are:

Liverpool City Council
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Arts and Humanities Research Council
BBC
British Council
DCMS
Liverpool John Moores University
Spirit of 2012
University of Liverpool
UK Music

Reaction:

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The chance to host a global spectacle like the Eurovision Song Contest is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often – especially for a city in the UK – that’s why so many cities bid for the accolade.

“As an international event that attracts guests, media and attention from around the world, we’re expecting thousands upon thousands of visitors to descend on the Liverpool City Region next month for a week-long celebration of music, dance, fun and frivolity.

“The £2m that the Combined Authority is contributing towards the staging of Eurovision is just a fraction of the economic return we expect to see from the event, which is predicted to inject £25m into the city region economy in May alone. But the intangible contribution of broadcasting our brand to an international audience could be invaluable.

“With a visitor economy that’s worth nearly £5bn and which supports more than 55,000 jobs, I’m looking forward to seeing the impact that hosting Eurovision will have on our residents, our economy and our culture for years to come.”

Chair of the Evaluation group and Director of Public Health for Liverpool, Professor Matthew Ashton, said: “The eyes of the world will be watching Liverpool through their TVs and online during Eurovision, with thousands more visiting – but I’m especially interested in how hosting this fantastic event will impact on local residents.

“These studies will not only contribute to the development of hosting major events in the future – but will also help us to understand how events like this can benefit the local communities in which they are hosted.”

Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012, said: “Eurovision has the potential to elevate the city region and make a lasting impact on the wellbeing and happiness of all the people who live there.

“Understanding how and why this does or doesn’t happen is critical to ensuring that future mega events, maybe even another UK Eurovision, deliver the best possible impact for the largest number of people.”