Fans furious as Israel plans steep hike to Eurovision ticket prices
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Fans furious as Israel plans steep hike to Eurovision ticket prices

Europeans and Israelis hoping to attend the competition in Tel Aviv call the three-fold increase from previous years ‘outrageous’

Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai at the City Exchange Ceremony and raffle January 28, 2019 for the semi-finals of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest to be held May 14-18, 2019 in Tel Aviv. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai at the City Exchange Ceremony and raffle January 28, 2019 for the semi-finals of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest to be held May 14-18, 2019 in Tel Aviv. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Tickets are not yet on sale, but Eurovision fans were fuming Tuesday after Israeli media reported most ticket prices for the 2019 music contest in Tel Aviv had more than doubled from the previous year, when the competition took place in Portugal.

Prices for the Eurovision song contest semi-final and final will range from 750 NIS ($210) to 2000 NIS ($550), while tickets for the dress rehearsals will be between 350 NIS ($95) to 1250 NIS ($345), the Ynet news website reported.

At last year’s Eurovision in Lisbon, the average ticket price for a semi-final seat was 50 Euros (205 NIS or $55), making this years rehearsal tickets up to 17 times more expensive, Channel 12 news reported, quoting several Israelis calling the price increases “outrageous.” Lisbon ticket prices for all shows ranged from 5 Euros (20 NIS or $5.50) to 300 Euros (NIS 1230 or $330).

Tickets are expected to go on sale next week with 4,000 available to the general public and 3,000 others reserved for the European Broadcasting Union that runs the event. There are 9 shows in all, the semi-finals and final and two rehearsals for each.

The competition will be held at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds from May 14-18, and the pricey tickets stunned not only Israelis, but also many European fans including those who’ve already planned their trip to Israel.

“It’s very expensive,” Pedro Esporito-Santo from Lisbon, told Channel 12 television. “Last year I paid 220 Euros for the three lives shows and two years ago in Kiev I paid almost the same. This year it’s almost three times more.”

Kobi Marimi, who will represent Israel at the 2019 Eurovision song contest. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

“Last year I was in Eurovision and I paid 120 Euros for a great final ticket,” said Dima Kozikov from Kiev, charging that the high prices put the event beyond the reach of people from different European countries.

The increased prices are in part attributed to higher security costs associated with large events in Israel that always require extensive security services. Additional security will also be present in the concert hall where organizers want to avoid any interruptions.

Pro-Palestinian anti-Israel activists in Europe have called for a boycott of the Eurovision event in Tel Aviv. Anti-Israel protesters briefly interrupted a Eurovision song contest qualifying round in France last month.

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