Few seats, sky-high prices: Eurovision ticket details released

KAN says that the first round of ticket sales are expected to open by the end of February.

Eurovision 2019 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Eurovision 2019
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Devoted Eurovision fans should get ready to cough up some serious cash if they want to attend the international song contest in Tel Aviv this May. That is, if they can manage to get a seat.

After months of speculation, KAN revealed the prices for tickets for the week of shows on Tuesday. And the steep price tag has left many fans upset – and potentially canceling plans to attend.

For the live grand finale on May 18, tickets start at a whopping NIS 1,150 each – for the cheapest seat. A spot in the “golden ring” will cost NIS 1,500 and a space closest to the stage will cost NIS 1,700. The most pricey ticket for the show isn’t even in the hall; one of the 1,500 spots in the “green room VIP section” – where all the contestants wait between performances and watch via screens – will cost NIS 2,000.

While an exact date for the sale of tickets was not yet available, a KAN spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that it will begin before the end of February. The tickets will go on sale to the public in two separate batches.

Though the ticket prices were reported by KAN, which is hosting the show, the Eurovision organizers put out a statement Monday afternoon that despite reports, “no announcement has been made with regard to tickets.”

In what could be read as a reaction to the high costs, the statement also noted that “being in the audience of the Eurovision Song Contest, while Europe and the world are watching, is an experience of a lifetime!”

For each show, only approximately 4,300 tickets will be sold. KAN revealed Tuesday that while the hall at Expo Tel Aviv will be able to hold around 7,300 people, only approximately 4,500 will be made available to the general public. The remaining seats are reserved for delegations from each of the 41 visiting countries, as well as European Broadcasting Union officials and advertising partners, including MyHeritage.

But luckily for Eurovision fans, tickets will be sold for much more than just the grand finale – and at somewhat more reasonable costs. Tickets will also be sold for the May 14 and 16 live semi-final shows, for prices ranging from NIS 750 to NIS 1,250.

In addition to the three live shows, KAN will be selling tickets to six general rehearsals – two for each live show – which take place the evening before and the afternoon of the event itself. The rehearsals for the live grand finale will be held on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

Tickets for the finale rehearsal will range from NIS 500 to NIS 1,250, and tickets for the semi-final rehearsals will cost NIS 350 to NIS 1,000. KAN will be reserving 500 seats during one of the rehearsals for IDF soldiers.

The public broadcaster stressed Tuesday that while the hall selected for the Eurovision could hold up to 10,000 people, the enormous stage size, the filming equipment and the security demands – to prevent a stage invader like in Lisbon last year – left them with just 7,300 seats. This is one of the reasons they also opened up a VIP section in the green room to add an additional 1,500 seats to each live show (they won’t be sold for the rehearsals).

A spokeswoman for KAN pointed out that despite the excitement of the live show, the entire production is designed for television, and fans may in fact get a better view from home.

At the 2018 Eurovision in Lisbon, Portugal, tickets were more reasonably priced. Tickets for the live grand finale ranged from 35-299 euros (NIS 150-1,225), with tickets in the main central area going for 120 euros (NIS 500), and the semi-finals and rehearsals much cheaper.

An official close to the Eurovision production said that ticket prices in Israel are high simply because the cost of living is much higher than in Europe, and the prices for equipment and infrastructure are higher. A source in KAN stressed that the tickets are also aimed at helping the public broadcaster recoup some of its costs, since – in a deal made with the government last year – it took out a NIS 70 million loan to help pay for the event.

Sources in KAN claimed that this will be the first year that the host country’s government will not be participating in the costs of the Eurovision production. The KAN public broadcaster has a state-funded annual budget of NIS 662 million. It is expected to use NIS 50 million of that budget plus the NIS 70 million loan to fund the competition.

A slew of popular Eurovision blogs bemoaned the high cost on Tuesday after the ticket prices were revealed, while others took to social media to complain. The wiwibloggs site said “tickets won’t come easy and they won’t come cheap,” and noted that “the pricing has sparked outrage from fans, with many claiming they won’t be [able to] afford to attend the show.”

The EuroVoxx site wrote that “it’s time to check behind the sofa, and empty the piggy bank, as prices are a lot more steeper [sic] than those in Lisbon 2018,” while The Eurovision Times blog wrote simply: “Eurovision ticket prices announced... it’s not good news!”