Eurovision Preview

The Eurovision Song Contest has been held in Europe every year since 1956, which makes it the longest running televised music competition. It is held once a year, usually in May, and has taken on different formats over the years.

Traditionally the winner of the contest is obliged to host the competition the following year. There are a number of countries which qualify automatically, as they make the largest financial contribution to the event. These are France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. All other countries must qualify with semi-finals taking place in the days leading up to the main event. 

Last year’s competition was held in Liverpool, despite the UK finishing second in 2022. It was Ukraine that won that year but the political situation meant that it was not possible for the event to be held in Kiev. As runners up, the United Kingdom stepped up and hosted an excellent event in the city of Liverpool, a place with an amazing musical history. The event was a success with Sweden winning the contest, their seventh overall Eurovision win. The win takes them to joint top in terms of overall winners, a record they share with Ireland, who also have seven wins. The winning song was ‘Tattoo’ performed by Loreen, her second win in this competition. She becomes only the second person to win the Eurovision twice, an honour she shares with Irish singer Johnny Logan. Last year’s competition had an audience of 162 million viewers in 38 European countries. 

Eurovision Voting Process

The contest takes place over three live shows, two semi-finals which are held in midweek and the final which takes place on Saturday evening. The ‘Big Five’ countries don’t have to qualify for the final, as they are the ones that make the biggest financial contribution to the event. Everyone else is placed in one of two semi-finals and has to perform on either Tuesday or Thursday evening in the hope of making it through. Voting is split between a jury of five music industry professionals from each country and another from the viewers of that particular country. The big five countries that take part in every edition without having to qualify are the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Each country is represented by an act that is chosen by the national broadcaster in that particular nation. It is up to each nation to decide who will go on to represent them in the main competition but the standard methods of selection are Televised National Selection, Internal Selection and Mixed Format. 

Predicting the winner

Over recent years, the betting markets have been pretty good at predicting the winning song, but not so good at predicting the top ten overall. In recent years, the favourites have won four of the last five, with the exception being Maneskin from Italy who won in 2021. In 2018, Israel were strong favourites and ended up winning and in 2019 the Netherlands were correctly listed as favourites to win the contest. 2021 was a surprise as Malta were favourites but ended up finishing seventh whereas the winners on the day, Italy, started as fifth favourites. In 2022 the political situation meant that Ukraine were strong favourites and did indeed go on to win, whereas second placed UK were fourth favourites going into the contest. Last year Sweden were a very short price to win the event and Loreen obliged with her song ‘Tattoo’.

Analysing 2023

The money was clearly for Sweden last year, something that was reflected in the odds prior to the event. The winning song clearly had a broad appeal as it went on to be a commercial success, reaching the top ten in 18 countries in total and breaking records when it comes to Spotify streams. The win wasn’t without some controversy though, as is often the case at Eurovision. Sweden’s win came despite Finland’s lead in the televoting and this sparked some controversy in the live audience. During the jury voting sequence, there was some disruption from Finland supporters as they felt that the lead of 133 points following the televoting should have been enough to secure overall victory. It was a disappointing day for the host nation as the United Kingdom were unable to replicate the previous year, finishing down in 25th place overall. Israel was third, followed by Italy, Norway and Ukraine.

Predictions and potential bets for 2024

This time around there is less of a big favourite to win the competition than last year. The current favourites are Croatia, who have yet to ever win the contest. Last year’s winners Sweden are not given much hope of retaining their crown as they are down as 10th favourites whereas previous winners Ukraine are fourth favourites. The second most fancied to win is Switzerland and the rest of the top ten is made up of the likes of Italy, Netherlands, France and Ireland.

When it comes to placing a bet on the contest, one can choose which country will win as well as other types of selections. Since the contest first has to go through the semi-final stages (the first of which took place yesterday), one is able to select the winner of each of the two semi-finals as well as whether or not a particular country will make it through to the final or not. 

Moving on to the main event, the most obvious market is the winners market. This is simply a list of countries that have the chance to win the contest, although this will change depending on the results of the aforementioned semi-finals. As mentioned, Croatia are favourites, followed by Switzerland and Italy. The top two don’t have much winning history in this contest, Croatia have yet to win whereas Switzerland have won it twice before, in 1965 and 1988. It would be refreshing to see someone new win so many neutrals will back Croatia. Ireland could be an interesting option, they have been nowhere near winning in recent years but do have a rich history in this contest and perhaps we will see an outsider come along and make a big impression, although recent Eurovision history indicates that is quite unlikely. 

As well as picking out the winner of the contest, there are also a number of special markets and options such as head to heads. One can pick one country versus another, something which is popular when it comes to neighbouring countries, so France and Netherlands is an option, especially as they are close in the overall markets. One also has the option to pick a top 5 result, for example, or whether the winner will come from a group of countries, such as the Nordic or Baltic countries.

Last updated: 08.05.2024