‘It’s been boss’ - Liverpool takes a bow after hosting Eurovision

ITV Granada Reports' Victoria Grimes watched the final with fans at parties across Liverpool

Liverpool has been heaped with praise following its tenure as honorary hosts of Eurovision.

The city hosted this year's song contest on behalf of the 2022 winners Ukraine.

The televised finale was the most-watched grand final in UK history, with hundreds of millions more people expected to have tuned in worldwide.

The #Eurovision2023 hashtag racked up over 3.8 billion views on TikTok.

More than half a million people visited Liverpool during the accompanying 9-day festival, Merseyside Police said.

The force, which launched its biggest-ever policing operation for the event, made just three arrests and thanked fans who attended.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Liverpool did "Ukraine proud”, Eurovision boss Martin Österdahl exclaimed he wanted the city to host “every year” and Liverpool City Council declaring that the event "exceeded all our expectations."

Cllr Harry Doyle, Cabinet Member elect for Healthy and Vibrant City, said, “We always knew Liverpool would sparkle during Eurovision and now we just hope those people who came and were part of history come back again and bring their friends!”

Fans dancing the night away at the Eurovision fan village Credit: ITV Granada

Fans swamped social media to praise the city following the final at the M&S Bank Arena on the city’s famous waterfront.

One Merseysider wrote: "What an event. Well played Liverpool. We know how to throw a party."

Another said, "12 points to Liverpool,” while another person added, "You did Liverpool and the UK proud. Thank you."

A Ukrainian fan said, "Thank you so so much! You opened your hearts and arms and we are forever grateful for this."

A Spanish viewer wrote, "Liverpool has a lot of good things, impossible to name them all now but wow, from day one, this is the best Eurovision ever."

Hosts Hannah Waddingham and Graham Norton in tears after a performance of You'll Never Walk Alone. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Eurovision legends took to the stage at the grand final to celebrate the music of Merseyside.

The former contestants sang Merseyside classics as part of the The Liverpool Songbook performance, starting with John Lennon's Imagine and ending with a heart-felt rendition of the Liverpool FC anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.

Sam Ryder, who helped the UK to second place last year, performed alongside Queen drummer Roger Taylor during the final.

The Princess of Wales took part in the opening sequence, performing a short piano piece.

The UK’s Mae Muller, who finished 25th in the contest, said it wasn’t the result she hoped for but was “proud of everyone."

Mae Muller reacts during voting in the grand final. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Despite only being chosen as host city last October, the arena accomplished the feat of hosting six preview shows, two semi-finals and the grand final.

A Eurovision fan village at the Pier Head ensured those without tickets could experience the atmosphere.

250,000 visitors enjoyed performances from stars including Sophie Ellis Bextor, The Lightning Seeds and Conchita Wurst.

The city was draped in yellow and blue and there was a trail of Soloveiko Songbirds.

Visitors could be in no doubt that it was Ukraine’s party.

Thousands of tickets to the live shows were given to people who have been displaced from their war-torn country.

Conchita Wurst talks to a fan inside the Liverpool arena. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Estimates suggest the song contest could be worth between £25m and £40m to Liverpool in visitor spending.

The longer term benefit could be as much as £150m-£250m, say business leaders.

Figures from Liverpool BID Company show the city centre had an additional 384,036 visitors – an increase of 13.2% on 2022.

Chief executive Bill Addy said, "The private sector, through BID, made a six figure investment to help ensure the benefit of Eurovision would be felt throughout the city centre.

"We’ve spent a lot of time with our city centre businesses helping to prepare for this, from window dressing and artwork to karaoke displays and language classes, so it’s great to see it paying off."

Liverpool City Council and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority each put £2m towards staging the event.

The government, BBC and European Broadcasting Union reportedly provided other funding of around £10m.

Liverpool’s director of culture, Claire McColgan, said councils across the country "will see the power of investing in culture over the long term."

She added that the city "has a big outspoken heart and an opinion for basically everything. It is contrary and confrontational. Kind and emotional. And it loves to party.

"That’s why Eurovision has supersized here."

One of the 12 huge nightingales lighting up Liverpool during its EuroFest. Credit: ITV Granada

The city hosted a 14-day EuroFestival of 24 commissions, 19 of them in partnership with Ukraine.

It also commissioned more than 40 EuroLearn projects, while over 60 EuroStreet schemes took over the city region.

Arts and participation manager Alicia Smith said: "Our ambition was to programme attention-grabbing, impactful city region-wide activity which made everyone feel part of this unique Eurovision experience but the reaction has exceeded all our expectations."

Home - part of EuroFestival and the largest exhibit of Ukrainian photography in the UK - continues in venues across the Liverpool city region throughout May.

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