'Practice run for Eurovision' - Sheffield eyes 2023 Song Contest after success of women's Euros

Sheffield is celebrating after the women’s Euros attracted thousands, raised millions - and fired up the city’s claim on Eurovision next year.

​​​​​​The football tournament - which culminated in England winning a semi-final in front of 29,000 at Bramall Lane - has been rated a success by organisers.

Estimates of the economic boost go up to £7m.

An extra 10,000 people visited the city centre for the Sweden-Netherlands match on July 9 alone, compared to the Saturday previous, an increase of 22 per cent, the city council said.

Swedish fans at the Frog and Parrot on Division Street

The figure more than doubled to 48 per cent for the England semi-final against Sweden, according to Sheffield BID (business improvement district), while millions watched on television. It also said every city centre hotel room was sold out.

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But as well as the numbers, Sheffield’s reputation has soared, according to Gary Clifton, head of major events at the city council.

He said: “This shows we can deliver international events at the highest level and do a great job.”

Swedish fans gather on Division Street, Sheffield

Sheffield is bidding to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year after England was chosen because of the war in Ukraine.

Sheffield City Council spent £300,000 on the Euros - from branding to security to waste management - and used the services of 800 people, including 250 volunteers, Mr Clifton said.

Four fan parties at Devonshire Green followed by ‘fan walks’ through the streets to Bramall Lane were a highlight, he added.

Swedish fans on their way to Bramall Lane ahead of the historic game. Photo: Mark Hawley

Diane Jarvis, head of business operations at Sheffield BID, said: “Sheffield is a city that excels at hosting major events.

“We hope the council’s bid to host the Eurovision Song Contest will also be successful as the city is the perfect choice.”

The Frog and Parrot pub on Division Street was headquarters for Swedish fans and as a result sales were ‘phenomenal’.

Landlord Nick Simmonite said staff learned a few words, dressed in the kit and hung out Swedish flags to make fans feel at home.

He added: “This shows we really can organise things. Sheffield City Council has really stepped up with the fan parties. The level of co-ordination with things like road closures, security and waste management have been wonderful to participate in.

“It’s a practice run for Eurovision.”

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