Eurovision in Moscow has officially proven to be the most expensive in the history of the Song Contest, costing $40 million.
Konstantin Ernst, the general director of Russian Channel One which was sponsoring the event, told Itogi magazine that Channel One covered about one-third of the contest’s total expenses.
According to Ernst, this sum includes “everything from the VIP hall for arriving guests and Moscow scenic tours to renting viewing screens in the different parts of Europe and the purchase of the Beijing television station.” Expenses on the show itself were said to be not “so great”.
“Holding this competition, on the average, costs $16-21 million,” said Svante Stockselius, the founder of the contest and member of EBU, during an interview with Newsweek. Ernest explained that the high cost of the Russian competition included building the largest stage and the renovation of Olympiisky Arena, where the contest was held. He also added that Moscow is “a very expensive city.”
Eurovision 2009 has been labeled the most expensive and unprofitable event in the 54-year song contest history. $40 million is an absolute record. For instance, last year’s competition in Belgrade cost about $ 33 million. The earlier two contests in Helsinki and Athens cost about $16,6 million. However, the Serbs managed to cover half of the expenses with ticket sales, advertising and souvenirs. Greece has earned three-quarters of the spent sum, and Finland earned back the entire sum.
However, the song contest in Moscow was too expensive to earn back a significant part of the money spent. The Channel One director said that “Six million Swiss Francs [about $ 5,6 million] should be repaid by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), but this money has not yet been received.” Sponsors paid some money, funds were also collected from ticket sales, but this “hasn’t covered the expenses.”
“But, we also did not count on it…The Olympic Games and the Cannes film festival are also not primarily held for the sake of earnings,” Ernst noted.
Speaking of televising equipment purchased for the contest, Ernst said that it cost almost $10 million and is “the best among all existing television stations today”.
“It provides HD quality and was prepared specially for the Olympic Games in Beijing. I’m sure that this television station will serve us up to the Sochi Olympics and will be quite pertinent there … We have spent almost one-third of the money allocated by the state on the television studio. In brackets I will mention: more than one million dollars was paid for customs clearance – no privileges or indulgences took place,” Ernst explained.
The popularity of Eurovision among TV viewers has almost reached the level of Olympics openings and World and European football championships. This year’s figures have risen higher than ever.
The share of viewers of Moscow’s Eurovision final, among all who were watching TV in Norway, Greece, Estonia, Finland and Sweden, reached almost over 75 per cent. In Iceland it was reported to be an unprecedented 98,7 per cent, which is 77 per cent of the population of the country.
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