The final budget figures for May’s Eurovision contest in Copenhagen were released on Monday, showing that the show cost more than three times as much as planned.
The total bill for Eurovision came to 112 million kroner ($20.2 million), well over the initial 34.6 million kroner ($6.2 million).
It was already revealed in June that Projektselskabet, a temporary company created by publicly-owned tourist organisation Wonderful Copenhagen to put on the Eurovision bonanza, completely overshot its budget.
Projektselskabet admitted that it had gone “considerably over budget” but stressed that judgement should be withheld until the release of the final figures.
When those numbers were released on Monday, they revealed a total deficit of 58 million kroner ($10.4 million). That loss will now have to be covered by Copenhagen Council, the Capital Region (Region Hovedstaden), Wonderful Copenhagen and Refshaleøens Ejendomsselskab A/S.
Organisers sad on Monday that the refurbishing of the former ship-building halls B&W Hallerne in an industrial area on Copenhagen’s Refshaleøen island cost much more than they anticipated.
“Over 90 percent of the extra costs went to repurposing B&W Hallerne. It was much, much more expensive than anyone would have imagined,” Wonderful Copenhagen spokesman Lars Benhard Jørgensen told Danmarks Radio.
Jørgensen’s statement, however, seems questionable given that concerns about the costs were raised as far back as September 2013, when B&W Hallerne was selected as the site of Eurovision.
Fabian Holt, an associate producer at Roskilde University who has done extensive research in live events and venues, said that the budget numbers clearly demonstrate “disastrous management”.
“There is no doubt that the city of Copenhagen and the organisations behind the partnership to produce Eurovision were very eager to make this happen. They seem to have been so seduced by the thought of holding a magical event that they forgot to ask critical questions about how realistic the plans and production were,” Holt told The Local.
Holt predicted that someone would be held ultimately responsible and that Jørgensen’s statement that no one could have imagined the costs show that he and his organisation are already on the defensive.
“I think he knows that this won’t be the end of it. I think that the city and regional politicians will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be consequences,” Holt said.
Holt added that despite a potential “bloodbath” resulting from the final figures, it’s still too early to say if the excessive Eurovision spending is as bad as it seems.
“Going three times over the budget is a clear sign of disastrous management, but overall the event wasn’t a disaster. Yes, it cost a lot more than it should have, but the positive effects are still there. Some of those benefits can be measured directly, while others like city branding cannot be measured yet.”