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Nine Things To Expect From Sweden And Eurovision 2024 Written by and on May 17, 2023 | 9 Comments

Liverpool 2023 is going to be a tough act to follow, but Swedish broadcaster SVT has accepted the challenge. The planning for the next Eurovision Song Contest began as Loreen lifted the glass trophy on Saturday night. Ewan Spence and Ben Robertson take ESC Insight’s annual look to the future and what we might expect from Eurovision 2024.

Location, Location, Location

It’s safe to say that SVT will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden. That means the three former hosting cities will be on everyone’s radar. It’s relatively easy to rule out Gothenburg, Scandanavium’s roof is too low, and does not have the structural strength for a modern Song Contest. The city council president Jonas Attenius has pointed out that discussions about funding must come first before any bid. Given the logistics of a new arena being needed in less than twelve months, this option looks unlikely.

Malmö hosted in 2013 and continues to be a popular destination for Melodifestivalen. While the arena itself would be able to host, the increased social activities and the massive circus that accompanies a modern Song Contest needs a population, and that is a struggle for Malmö. There is an argument like in 2013 that the proximity to Copenhagen could reduce the burden on Malmö for hotels (Copenhagen city centre to Malmö Arena is a 27-minute train ride), but that would also reduce the revenue raised for Sweden as a nation.

Which leaves Stockholm. The Avicii Arena (nee Globen) is being refurbished in May 2024. Next door’s Tele2 arena has two football teams that would need to find a new home, while Friends Arena has only one. The latter should be easier to accommodate and has a decade of SVT experience with the final of Melodifestivalen. Politicians from both Solna (where the arena actually is located) and Stockholm have expressed interest in organising there as priority number one. The politicians will likely need to offer the AIK football team an offer that is too good to turn down to host there, however.

A small shout out as well for Örnsköldsvik which is planning on hosting again after being rumoured to have been second place to Stockholm in 2016. They have spoken about the need to downscale the contest and to make it a regional bid to cope with the demanding scale of a 2024 event, but one has to admit their 2016 bid was as cute as anything.


If pushed to give an answer now we would say Stockholm and Friends Arena are the favourites. Obviously, book any accommodation and flight options with free cancellation until we know for sure.


One advantage of the potential arenas in Sweden are the capacities. It’s almost certain that we’re going to have more tickets on sale per show compared to Liverpool, and if we do end up in Friends Arena, we could be looking at a scale of Eurovision not seen since Germany hosted in 2011.

That’s going to have an impact on both the prices and the audience. One school of thought is that the ticket prices have stayed high since Tel Aviv so why cut the price? The other school notes there won’t be as limited an inventory, so the market won’t sustain too high a price, and with such a financially accessible show you’re going to see lots of family groups, school trips, and more, especially during rehearsals. There’s even an argument that Friends Arena might only use that top-tier capacity for the live shows, only opening up the lower tiers for rehearsals.

While Eurovision is a big event that can command demand for nine live shows to sell out in minutes for 6,000 public tickets, it may be a stretch to see the show sell out for nine shows at 30,000. There will be a supply/demand question at play and, at least for rehearsals, that should see the prices be increasingly accessible.

Plus, there should be space for everybody. What a luxury.

A Party, But A Flat-Packed One

If we are allowed one thing to be excited about returning to Sweden for the first time in eight years, it is the culture here in the nation of Eurovision. Eurovision is not a side interest here and there are few places that see it as much as a “party for everybody” as they do here. Wherever the Contest goes there will be a relatively small knowledge gap to fill in, all the cities bidding have held Melodifestivalen heats and seen themselves transform to embrace Sweden’s largest travelling circus each winter.

That said though there is one thing that is going to be vital to this year’s competition. Sustainability. The bids being proposed this year are cautious of the difficulties of the economic climate and the nation has been risk-averse in going for big one-off projects. It is notable in this regard that Sweden’s Winter Olympic bid for 2026 featured little infrastructure building, even to the point of using Latvia’s bobsleigh venue as a part of the proposal. However this sustainability is not purely financial, in all ways sustainability is the term most ingrained in Swedish culture throughout the nation.


Don’t be surprised to see this year’s Contest be less expensive than others, and hopefully at a price point to mean our returning nations are not just limited to Luxembourg (and Portugal doesn’t withdraw). The 2013 and 2016 shows were some of the cheapest this century and I wouldn’t even be surprised if Stockholm won the hosting rights and built the same EuroClub eight years prior. Indeed, other than it being Friends Arena, it might be hard to find a distinguishing USP to make any Stockholm or Malmö bid shine so recently after last time.

Except for one certain foursome.

Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again

It wouldn’t be a Swedish Eurovision without mentioning ABBA. They were the first winners of Eurovision for Sweden back in 1974. History has kindly decided to repeat itself this year so that Sweden will be hosting their seventh Eurovision Song Contest fifty years after that first victory.

The band have resisted calls to come back for many decades now, but if there was going to be anything that could make it happen it would be this one. Benny and Björn did co-write the 2013 Flag Parade music and Björn was interviewed as a part of the Eurovision broadcast this year. The band reformed to release an album in 2021 and if a certain arena show in London is anything to go by Abba mania is as big as ever. If there ever was a point in history where an appearance could happen, it would happen now.

And if not we could just get ABBA in digital form.


Either way, we are making it odds favourite that “Thank You For The Music” becomes the official slogan of the 2024 Contest.


The Eurovision Song Contest does not stand still, it is constantly evolving. That’s why we’re not in dinner jackets, waiting to be invited to the show, and watching each country sing twice in black and white. So there will be changes, have no doubt about that. There are always changes.

And when it comes to changes, the nation that arguably has done the most to revolutionize Eurovision over the last decade is Sweden. The 2013 show in Malmö had standing audiences, flag parades and the end to a random running order. 2016 saw the exciting voting climax introduced as well as a snippet of the Big 5 entries being introduced during the Semi Finals. No doubt SVT has more ideas they want to implement.

No doubt the community will look at Melodifestivalen and use that as a source of ideas and debate. The use of backing vocals, almost a requirement to get through the CoVID lockdown shows, is here to stay. The use of vocal effects – as seen in many pop tracks today – needs to be considered. The difference between Reiley’s studio version and the live version is a testament to that.


No doubt a look at the jury and televote process will be discussed as well, although that might simply need a better way of presenting the two sides of the voting, rather than rip out what has been broadly working over the last fourteen years.

Let the debates on what to change, and what to keep the same, carry on over the summer.

The Contest Behind The Scenes

If there’s one thing that the Eurovision Song Contest brings out, it’s the skill and prowess of a broadcaster. The Song Contest is their time to shine, to bring innovation to the stage.

SVT brought a lot to the Contest in 2013 and 2016. The BBC has clearly lifted the bar with the stage, design, lighting, and technical ability on show at Liverpool 2023. SVT’s team will be itching to not only go above and beyond their last two Contests, but also measure themselves against the BBC’s efforts… It will be a point of pride to try and top Liverpool for Scandinavia’s biggest public broadcaster, the new kings of Eurovision with seven gold medals around their necks.


The same will also be true for the stage designers, the lighting team, the sound crews, and everyone else in the creative and production chain. The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the biggest shows on the planet, and whatever you put on screen is your best effort. Everyone wants to be the best at this game, and that includes the behind-the-scenes SVT teams.

Secondments from other broadcasters

One of the quiet goals of the Eurovision Song Contest is to share best practices and knowledge between the member broadcasters, and there’s no better way to do that than through the production of the Song Contest. After hosting, broadcasters are offered a seat on the Reference Group for a number of years to pass that knowledge on to the next host broadcaster.

The hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 was unique, with it being in essence a partnership between the BBC and UA:PBC and two member broadcasters working closely together. While this was brought about by tragic circumstances, perhaps the idea of two broadcasters working more closely will continue. I doubt we’ll see two broadcasters work so closely as those from the UK and Ukraine did this year, but seconding staff in to witness the planning and implementation of the Song Contest may be something that quietly happens.

The Return Of Eurovision 1992’s Favourite Son

One of the curious facets of winning the Eurovision Song Contest is that the winning team is invariably broken up so the individuals can host the Song Contest – after all, they have the most recent experience. It’s likely a contributing factor to host countries underperforming when they are hosting.

How do you address that? Have you someone on stand-by that has experience of both the Song Contest and the Melodifestivalen selection? Have you someone who can navigate both, leaving the main team to focus on the logistics of the show? Have you someone who has been the Creative Director at multiple contests and understands what you need to put on stage, manage the process, and deliver a result?

Is that somebody looking for a new project after the American Song Contest?

Step forward Christer Bjorkman. Not only could the delegation be kept in safe hands, but SVT would have a lot of institutional knowledge a few doors down in the SVT corridors.

Ireland’s Hunger To Be The Undisputed Champion

Following Loreen’s victory she equalled Johnny Logan’s two trophies, and both Peter Boström and Thomas G:son join him with two songwriter trophies. Sweden and SVT have equalled Ireland’s seven victories in the Contest – although with the majority of Sweden’s victories and doubles coming in the televote era, I’d argue that Sweden has the edge (said Christer Björkman claims it is the most recent winner who should sit first in the order of merit, feel free to argue in the comments)

Nevertheless, there’s a lot on the line for the Eurovision Belt. Ireland needs a win, Logan needs a win, and RTE needs to find its mojo before it loses the one defining factor of its time in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Johnny Logan, writing a song, and singing it from inside an exploding cake? Bring it on.

What are you looking forward to for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2024? What needs changed, what should stay the same, and what would be your wildest expectation? Let us know in the comments.

About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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Have Your Say

9 responses to “Nine Things To Expect From Sweden And Eurovision 2024”

  1. David Roel says:

    >The Song Contest is their time to shine, to bring innovation to the
    To the what?

  2. 4porcelli - The 🦦’s the best says:

    I adore you guys but there’s one error – ESC will return to Sweden for the first time in 8 years, not 11. How could you forget Love, love, peace peace and Mans naked with wolves?

  3. Shai says:

    Dear broadcaster,

    Eurovision 2023 has just finished with a disappointing result for your country. Together with the 7th Swedish win you may be tempted to seek a Swedish team for your next Eurovision song.

    The thought behind this is understandable. If Sweden is doing so well, maybe it will help your country to achieve the long desired win, of you employ a Swedish team.

    I am going ro tell you a secret: it hardly ever works that way. Occasionally, you may out-perform Sweden but history shows that Swedish songs, represntening other country than Sweden, do not do well in this contest.

    Remember , you are not the only country which is going to be fishing in the same pond and you all will end sounding the same. In the long run you will also antagonize the hords of fans, which is something you really don’t want to do.

    If you choose the path of a Swedish writers team, you will end at the same place you are today and with less money in your pocket.

    So when the time comes to think about your plans for Eurovision 2024 and before you commit yourself to the path of Swedish song for your country, take a break, re-think your approach and chose a different way.

    In the long run, you will thank me.

    Yours, Shai

  4. Josh Moran says:

    There should not be any vocal effects allowed at Eurovision. It would ruin the whole thing. It’s one of the reasons the American Song Contest was such a failure. Many of the contestants used auto tune. It’s cheap and tacky. And Reiley deserved to fail . If you can’t actually sing live then don’t be a singer. If they allow prerecorded lead vocals and auto tune that will be my last straw to never watch Eurovision again

  5. Ewan Spence says:

    Seen one naked Mans, seen them all 🙂

  6. Ewan Spence says:

    By limiting vocals to “pure live” as you say, then you cut out a lot of modern day pop music and styles. IMO the Contest has to stay in touch with popular music, or we end up as it was in the late 80s and early 90s, stuck in a rut of then Irish-ballads without any touchstone to the music of the day (Ewan)

  7. Hebbuzz says:

    The idea of bringing back Christer Bjorkman gives me the shivers.
    Everything he invented was against the original thought of Eurovision which was about composition and lyrics.

    Will 2024 welcome to 10 dancers on stage the distract from cheap repetitive televotebl friendly circus and welcome to full playback to cover up the models sent are no real singers and performers at all? With Christer at the steering wheel Mammon (God of Money Money Money) is served and EBU puts its head through the leash of commercialism. Its killing our beloved festival.

    An avatar ABBA comeback on the Eurovision stage would be very much welcomed. If possible accompanied with a new ABBA album? Or at least one yet unfinished track (Just like that i.e.) would be a wishful dream fulfilled though.

    Im afraid we will have to do with the Bjorkman nightmare only.

  8. Shai says:

    The problem with the recorded backing vocals is the the EBU is not upholding its own rules.
    Take for example Ireland: During their performing it was obvious that the lead singer wasn’t singing live . According to the rules, lead singer should always be live but a lot of countries are bending the rules and the EBU does nothing.

    The whole recorded backing vocals was brought in , using the pandemic as an excuses. In hindsight, it seems like something the EBU wanted to do for a long time and managed to push it through on false reasons.

    It’s becoming very difficult to defend our beloved contest when arguments like, they don’t sing live or they are not real singers are coming up and you know that most of the singing is enhanced with recorded backing vocals.

    When I go to a live concert of my favourite artist, I expect this artist to sing live during the concert, including the backing vocals. I accept the fact that some technology will be used during the show and sometime there will be recorded backing vocals, but I am paying to hear my favourite artist singing live. The same apply for Eurovision. Once you ask for money for a show, me as a paying audience, would very much appreciate that the majority will be live singing. Right now, it’s mostly recording vocals. And when there is a singer, singing live, or not using recording vocals, you just mark the difference.

  9. Ewan Spence says:

    There’s nothing to stop the front man miming, as long as the vocals are live – they could easily be sung by the band’s actual lead singer (who was on the stage playing one of the instruments, I forget which). Or you could do a Balkan Girls and have a singer at the very side of the stage while the performance routine happens. Given the EBU get all the backing tracks in March, I doubt there’s anything nefarious on tape. On stage… that’s a different matter.

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