The European Broadcasting Union does not think that the city of Kiev needs more time to be ready for the Eurovision Song Contest. The current dates of 9, 11 and 13 May do not form a problem for the EBU: “The venue will be ready in time for the contest.”
ESC Daily has spoken with the new Event Supervisor Nadja Burkhardt of the contest about several issues that the EBU is facing with the chosen dates for the contest. One of these issues is the fact that Kiev has asked for more time to be able to host the contest, in their bidbook. “Kiev plans to host the 2017 contest at the International Exhibition Centre, the largest venue of its kind in Ukraine with capacity for 11,000 spectators. This venue already has the functions and structure for a great competition. The city’s bid to host the event assured the EBU and the NTU that Kyiv will be able to meet the demands of hosting a Eurovision Song Contest on these dates. The venue will be ready in time for the contest.”
Another problem is the clash with the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday the 9th of May and the UEFA Europa League on Thursday the 11th of May. Several broadcasters have broadcasting rights for both these sport events and the Eurovision Song Contest. Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, FYR Macedonia, Malta and Serbia are all facing this issue.
Macedonian broadcaster MKRTV has notified ESC Daily that in this situation, it will only live broadcast the Champions League match on Wednesday, while the Tuesday & Thursday matches will not be shown live.
The problem seems biggest in Australia, which has only one channel available for both events and thus would not be able to broadcast everything live at the same time. In the other countries, similar problems could arise depending on the coordination and agreements between different channels. Even if the two programs can be broadcasted at the same time, it is still likely that both shows will attract less viewers because of the overlap. Since the broadcasters have spent a lot of money on both, it sounds likely that some are not happy with the decision by the EBU.
Burkhardt replies, saying that “much like every year, we believe that the Eurovison fans will join us and make this competition a truly exceptional experience, and we feel that the dates chosen will not comprise this in any way.” The Eurovision Song Contest has never before clashed with big Champions League matches. Whether or not these dates will have an impact on the viewing figures, will be known late May 2017. That is, unless the EBU decided to change the dates for Eurovision 2017 after all, with the dates of 23, 25 and 27 May still available without major international sports events or Ukrainian holidays.