After Friday’s big announcement here is some information that we hope will be helpful:
Thinking of attending an ESC in person?
With so many new members this year we thought it might be useful to provide some additional background information about the intricacies of ticketing and, for those who are able to secure tickets, the logistics of attending the live shows.
Attending the Eurovision Song Contest is not for the faint-hearted, necessitates a lot of patience and can involve considerable frustration and expense. People are already experiencing problems securing accommodation and this is only one of the obstacles to overcome before you can finally get into that arena for the live shows. The key message is don’t panic and don’t get down hearted, but please remember that only a few thousand tickets are available for each of the shows so you’re going to need a bit of luck as well.
The key thing to remember is that arrangements vary from year to year. Just because something happened in a particular way in Tel Aviv or Lisbon or Turin does not mean they will be the same in Liverpool. Arrangements depend on the EBU, the host broadcaster, the arena, the ticket agent, and the local government authorities. Hosting Eurovision is an expensive business and times are tough, and getting tougher, so things may not always happen as they have in the past.
As next year’s host broadcaster, the BBC will do a great job of the production but their involvement in peripheral events is less clear at this stage. The city authorities are very enthusiastic, and we have already had discussions with them about what our members will be looking for in Liverpool. The one thing you can rely on is that both OGAE UK and OGAE International will do everything they can to ensure our members and those of the other national clubs have as good a time as possible.
The official Eurovision website has already published a summary of the shows that take place during ESC week. It is likely that tickets will be available for 9 separate shows in May as follows:
- Semi-final 1 jury show on Monday 8 May in the evening
- Semi-final 1 family show on Tuesday 9 May in the afternoon
- Semi-final 1 live show on Tuesday 9 May in the evening
- Semi-final 2 jury show on Wednesday 10 May in the evening
- Semi-final 2 family show on Thursday 11 May in the afternoon
- Semi-final 2 live show on Thursday 11 May in the evening
- Grand Final jury show on Friday 12 May in the evening
- Grand Final family show on Saturday 13 May in the afternoon
- Grand Final live show on Saturday 13 May in the evening
The jury and family shows are generally identical to the live shows but with simulated voting. Whilst prices and demand for live show tickets will be extremely high, there is generally far better availability for the other shows and prices are lower.
It is probable that tickets for all these shows will be available to the general public (see below).
Traditionally, OGAE is offered the chance for its members to buy ticket packages. These are usually made up of tickets to each of the live shows and/or the jury shows. It’s too early to know for certain what will be on offer for 2023 (if anything) but hopefully we will have either 6-show or 3-show packages. We must emphasise again that there is absolutely no guarantee that OGAE will be offered tickets, but we will do everything we can to secure as many as possible.
Historically, tickets within a package could only be used by the named purchaser. Packages could not be split and unwanted tickets sold. There is no reason to believe that the same conditions will not apply in 2023. This means that OGAE tickets are probably only an option for people who can attend all three shows. Anyone who can only attend the final will probably be better off relying on the public sale.
Last year the arena was all seated, but it is quite possible 2023 will see the return of a standing area on the floor of the arena. If that is the case, we will hopefully have access to both types of ticket. There should also be a number of wheelchair places available.
All of this will be confirmed in due course. However, please remember that the Liverpool arena has a maximum capacity of about 11,000. Capacity may be reduced by the stage design and by the green room, whilst a sizeable proportion of tickets is reserved for sponsors and delegations. Some tickets will obviously be reserved for the public sale, and any tickets offered to OGAE will need to be shared between all the OGAE national clubs. This all means that ticket supply will be very limited.
ESC tickets are not cheap. The top priced OGAE ticket packages for Turin cost €950 (roughly £900) although lower priced tickets were available. Over the last five years top-priced OGAE ticket package costs have averaged €830 per person. We have made repeated representations for lower prices but given the current level of inflation and tight budgets, we have to face the possibility that ticket prices will be high.
Public sale tickets are usually available at various different prices but securing such tickets can be very difficult indeed, with people all over the world trying to buy them when they are released. Public tickets for the live shows usually sell out literally within minutes.
ESC23 Ticket Ballot
As you know, OGAE UK decides which members should have access to any ticket packages offered to us by means of a ballot.
Now that we finally have confirmation that we are heading to Liverpool next May, we will be starting our ESC ticket process. OGAE International is already busy trying to secure tickets for the OGAE network and we will pass on details as soon as they are available.
Given that we have so many new members we thought it would be good to set out some details of how ticketing usually works. We have also taken the opportunity to make some changes to the way the OGAE UK ballot process works that will hopefully make things run a bit more smoothly especially given the expected level of demand.
First and foremost, we need to re-emphasise again that there is absolutely no guarantee that OGAE will be offered access to tickets. OGAE International will negotiate on our behalf, and we hope that they will be able to secure as many tickets as possible. We already know that demand will be huge and will far outstrip supply.
We appreciate that many members are feeling very anxious about securing show tickets and accommodation. Eurovision ticketing involves a great deal of stress and can be something of a roller coaster ride, but please try to be patient.
Please do not be tempted to buy tickets on the secondary market especially before public announcements about tickets are made. Such tickets may be fictitious and holders risk being denied access to the arena.
Access to any tickets OGAE UK is offered will be determined by means of a ballot process. This process has been in place for a number of years, but we have made some adjustments this year to reflect our vastly expanded membership and to ensure fairness.
Members may only buy OGAE ticket packages for their own use. Members cannot buy for other people.
Members who joined on or before 31 October 2021 will be eligible to join ballot 1 which will be allocated 75% of any tickets we are offered. Members who joined between 1 November 2021 and 31 August 2022 will be eligible for ballot 2 which will be allocated 25% of tickets we receive. Those who joined us on or after 1 September 2022 will be eligible for a third ballot for any tickets that remain.
The date on which you joined is recorded on Membermojo and once applications close we will confirm the ballot for which applicant qualifies.
This year members will need to apply individually even if they have a joint membership. If they are successful in the ballot they will then be able to select a second member to join them in buying tickets. This second member must have also applied for tickets and qualify for the same ballot. Please note that if you recently added a second member to your membership you may not qualify for the same ballot.
We will clarify the position with regard to family memberships in due course. We need to first confirm the venue’s rules. In any case we would advise against having small children in any standing area that may be available.
Members looking for a wheelchair ticket should contact us once the ballots open. Members with any other special requirements should contact us as soon as possible. Any special access arrangements are entirely outside our control and are determined by the venue and organisers in line with usual practice for concerts.
Seating/standing preferences will be met according to people’s position in the ballot.
We will keep you posted with all key information as plans are finalised in the coming months. This is just meant to be a high-level summary of the process with full details and instructions to follow.
How to apply for the ballots
This year, members will need to apply for the ticket ballot through Membermojo.
When ballot applications open, members should log on to www.membermojo.co.uk/ogaeuk. Once in your account, select edit and you will find a field asking you if you wish to apply for the ticket ballot. To apply simply tick the relevant box. Doing this is also your acknowledgement that you have read and accept the OGAE UK ticketing terms and conditions which will be circulated.
All individuals wishing to apply for the ballot must tick the box on Membermojo. Joint members will NOT be automatically entered if one member applies.
You will also be asked to provide your OGAE International membership digital card number which is available through the Cardskipper app. This card number is written across the centre of the card and is in the format UKD-XX-XXXX. Please note that this is NOT your OGAE UK membership number which is shown at the bottom right of your card.
Having a current OGAE International digital card is a prerequisite for joining the ballot and, as people who went to Turin can testify, may be essential for access to seats. We will be creating a help service for members who have not yet been set up on Cardskipper or who haven’t yet loaded a card. Please do not email us at present about Cardskipper, we will communicate details of the assistance available shortly. Some 1500 members have been sent their Cardskipper details but have not yet set up their digital card. If you are one of this number please create your card as soon as possible.
We hope to open the ballot application process within 4 weeks (ie. by 4 November 2022) and we will be accepting applications for approximately 4 weeks after that (unless a shorter deadline is imposed on us by the organisers). Details will be confirmed and sent out by email in due course.
Ticket prices and seating plans will take some time to finalise. The stage design and camera locations will need to be determined before tickets can go on sale. Given that the venue has only just been confirmed, it seems unlikely that ticketing will start before the new year, but we will monitor the situation closely.
Depending on when ticket price details are revealed, we intend to only draw the ballot once prices are known and members can decide whether they wish to remain in the ballot or withdraw. This will be finalised in due course and will depend very much on the organisers’ timetable.
Please note that we often get very little notice of prices before ticket sales begin, and that members may need to make very quick decisions. When we get nearer to the ticketing period it will be important to monitor emails carefully and please ensure that your contact phone numbers on Membermojo are correct. As always, we will try to give you as much notice as possible.
The expectation is that there will also be a public ticket sale. These tickets are usually released in waves in the months leading up to the contest. ESC tickets are some of the most in demand event tickets in the world and so they command high prices and sell out extremely quickly. Tickets sometimes go on sale at very short notice, so it is important to keep an eye on the official website www.eurovision.tv for updates. OGAE UK will naturally try to give members as much notice as possible of any ticket sales but it is best to monitor the official site.
We have no details yet of exactly how ticket purchases will be made, but we expect sales to be through a major UK ticket agency.
As you will have heard, following the announcement of Liverpool as the host city, accommodation prices rose dramatically, and many hotels sold out. Please do not be discouraged, this happens every year when initial announcements are made. Things usually settle down as the contest approaches. Many people book accommodation but then change their plans when the ticket situation becomes clear, with their rooms then being released again. Similarly, some hotels will currently be blocked in order to provide accommodation for the various national delegations, but some rooms will no doubt be released closer to the contest.
Accommodation prices are partly driven by algorithms that respond automatically when there is a spike in people searching for accommodation for specific dates.
Given the UK time zone, the semi-finals will probably finish between 22:00 and 23:00 but the final will finish closer to midnight and his should be factored in to travel plans. There is no guarantee that special late public transport services will be offered.
Other events in the host city
Hopefully there will be a range of ESC-related events in Liverpool to keep everyone amused even if they are not attending the shows. Absolutely nothing has yet been finalised regarding a possible EuroClub/Café or a EuroVillage. Details of venues and events will be released in the coming months and OGAE will also be working to arrange meet-ups and ESC parties during the week. Hopefully, there will be no lack of ESC entertainment options.
I hope this helps. More information will follow as it becomes available.
OGAE UK Secretary