RESORTS World has thrown its hat into the ring to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
The venue says it has already cleared its diary so bands and singers can perform there after the show’s organisers ruled the competition cannot be held in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion.
The UK is next in line to host the competition as Sam Ryder came second with Space Man.
The country last hosted the competition in 1998 after Katrina and the Waves won the 1997 competition with Love Shine a Light.
In 1998 the event was held at the NEC Group’s then National Indoor Arena (NIA), now Utilita Arena in Birmingham.
Over the years Resorts World Arena has hosted major televised events and awards ceremonies including BBC Sports Personality of the Year as well as the BBC Music Awards.
The venue was also chosen to host Concert for Ukraine in March, broadcast live on ITV, bringing together some of the world’s biggest artists to help raise a staggering £13.4million.
Councillor Ian Courts, Solihull Council leader, said: “Resorts World in Solihull, in the centre of England and with such great connectivity and communications, is an obvious choice.
“We all want Ukraine to host the competition if it can, but Solihull and the West Midlands would be proud to step in.
“I think this all shows the growing recognition of our area for hosting major events, coming as it will after the Commonwealth Games”
Paul Thandi, chief executive of NEC Group, said: “Birmingham and the NEC Group would, once again, be honoured to host Eurovision.
“There’s no better venue in the country to do this than Resorts World Arena, with our 40-year history of hosting world-class live events.
“Situated on the NEC Campus, we have unrivalled transport links and on-site accommodation, plus technical broadcast capability which is known and been used by the major television broadcasters.
“We also have all the necessary facilities to turnaround and host major televised live music events at pace, demonstrated at the Concert for Ukraine earlier this year.”
West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, said: “The news that Eurovision 2023 could be held in the UK on behalf of Ukraine presents a great opportunity for the West Midlands to shine.
“Not only are we one of the most diverse regions across the whole of Europe, but we also have a proud history with this much-loved song contest, which has become a fixture of cultural life here and on the continent.
“The last time the UK hosted Eurovision it was right here in Birmingham, and so there is absolutely no reason our city and the wider region cannot host this extravaganza again.
“I will personally be making contact with the Director General of the BBC, who has spearheaded their recent significant investment into Birmingham, to see how we can best take this forward.
“In the NEC, we have a world class venue and live events partner and it goes without saying that our local residents are sure to offer a very warm welcome, so we have all the ingredients to make this a tremendous success.”