Spanish singer told to lose Eurovision? claims that countries deliberately avoid winning the Eurovision Song Contest because of the expense of hosting it. It claims that:

  1. Montenegro, Andora and Hungary pulled out of the Eurovision song contest in 2010, with Hungary supposedly doing so because of the IMF.
  2. It claims that countries send artists who cannot win.

TV Tropes also state that Sweden withdrew from the 1976 contest for this reason, and mentions an episode of Father Ted where Ireland deliberately chose the main characters as their entrants to avoid the expense of hosting it.

Are there any verified instances of countries taking actions in order to avoid winning Eurovision?

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    It's unlikely. Israel won twice in a row but didn't host the competition the 2nd time to avoid the costs. so it's possible to win but not to host the competition. – Ophir Yoktan May 26 '12 at 14:11
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    So, what is Eurovision? – mmr May 26 '12 at 14:26
  • @mmr: If that was a legitimate question: link added. If that was a troll: got me. – Oddthinking May 26 '12 at 15:07
  • @OphirYoktan: Maybe they got away with it because it was twice in a row. This doesn't mean it is generally possible. – Martin Scharrer May 26 '12 at 15:38
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    @Oddthinking-- legit question. As an American, I'd never heard of this. – mmr May 26 '12 at 22:23

This is an indirect answer.

The "hosting rule" was established in 1958:

Ok, here we go now: the winning country will be hosting the next ESC from now on!
(Generally speaking, anyway – some countries did make exceptions once in a while)

[Source: Official Eurovision Song Contest website from 2006 (via the Wayback Machine)]

The mentioned exceptions are: (quotes taken from the official ESC website 2012)

  • 1960: The capital of the United Kingdom, London, provided the settings for the fifth Eurovision Song Contest. This was despite the fact that the Netherlands actually won the Eurovision Song Contest the year before [..] the Dutch broadcaster didn't want to host the contest again.

  • 1963: The honour of hosting this year's song contest was handed over by the French to the United Kingdom.

  • 1972: Despite the victory of Monaco the previous year, the 1972 ESC took place in Edinburgh. The reason that the contest did not take place in Monaco was because the small Mediterranean nation could not provide a decent venue. However, it was later rumoured that the real reason was that Monaco was not in a financial position to host the contest.

  • 1974: For the second year in three, the United Kingdom and its national broadcaster BBC held the Eurovision Song Contest without having won in the preceding year. Due to the fact that the Luxembourg broadcaster RTL did not wish to host the song contest again because of financial reasons, British BBC embraced the possibility once more.

  • 1980: Israeli TV didn't want to host the 1980 Song Contest again even if they won it the year before on home ground. After a lot of discussions with several European broadcasters it was decided that the contest would be arranged by Dutch TV NOS in The Hague.

In 1976 Sweden

withdrew from the contest as Swedish TV thought that the contest had become too commercial. They were also afraid of winning again and having to host the expensive show again.

This led to

a new rule being introduced which meant each participant had to contribute in part to the costs of staging the event.


  • the easiest way to "avoid winning" is obviously not to register for the contest in the first place (e.g. this year Poland decided not to participate)

  • there are precedents of countries declining hosting duties due to financial strain

Due to these two points it seems to be an unnecessary measure to deliberately send artists who cannot win.

  • Looks like the UK doing more than their fair share :) – Benjol May 29 '12 at 9:28
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    @Benjol Of hosting, or sending artists who cannot win? – Andrew Grimm May 29 '12 at 10:41

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