Last weekend marked the finale of the annual extravaganza of Europop and European spirit called Eurovision. In it, countries put their best musical foot forward to beat the rest of Europe for Eurovision glory. The winner has to host the next year's event. A bit of a financially poisoned chalice of sorts.
Hosting Eurovision is not a cheap endeavor by any means, in fact in 2011 an Irish blog set out to find out how much it would cost his country.
"Following on from that, focusing now on hosting the event, Norway's broadcaster NRK in 2010 spent €25m to host the Eurovision. This is the most recent data available as we might have to wait a few months before we know what Germany spent this year. However, in 2009 Russia was reported to have spent a record £28m to host the show. This is equivalent to about €31m at average 2009 exchange rates."
The Swedes were bound and determined to keep the cost down and still put on a great show. The director of the event made it clear costs have gotten out of hand in previous years.
"Martin Österdahl, executive producer of this year's event, told WSJ that for the contest to survive, "small democratic nations" must be capable of hosting the show and that "someone has to have the courage to break the trend," of budget-busting spectacles, with both Germany in 2009 and Russia in 2011 breaking the €30 million ($38.9 million) mark."
Some might be wish to ponder who the most worried Finance Minister is today. Greece is a logical choice with their shock advancement of their entry "Alcohol is Free". The song title must be a bit of wishful thinking on the part of the many of the hard pressed Greeks cheering their country on. Several countries such as Portugal have not bothered to enter the competition at all citing financial woes and cutbacks due to austerity.
Of course those outside the EU who want to see what the fuss is about can watch the Final at 3pm est this Saturday afternoon. It is quite unlike anything that you will see on American television even on the most obscure cable channel.