The Organisers behind the Eurovision Song Contest
The Eurovision Song Contest is organised yearly by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), together with a Host Broadcaster and around 40 Participating Broadcasters.
The Contest is overseen by the Reference Group on behalf of the Participating Broadcasters, and each Participating Broadcaster is represented by a Head of Delegation.
European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
Established in 1950 and also known in French as Union Européenne de Radio-télévision (UER), the EBU is the world’s leading alliance of public service media.
The European Broadcasting Union has 112 member organisations in 56 countries and an additional 31 Associates in Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas. Members operate nearly 2,000 television, radio and online channels and services, and offer a wealth of content across other platforms.
For the Eurovision Song Contest, the EBU supports and supervises the work of the Host Broadcaster and is the central point of contact of all Participating Broadcasters. Together with its Partners, the EBU is centrally dealing with all matters related to the brand, international marketing activities, rights management, voting, communications and online activities.
You can find out more about the EBU on their website.
The Executive Supervisor oversees the preparation and organisation of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the EBU. Together with their team, they provide the main point of contact for over 40 participating EBU Members and are in charge of the operation on their behalf, ensuring the Contest is delivered annually by the Host Broadcaster in accordance with the Contest rules.
The current Executive Supervisor is Martin Österdahl, a senior television executive with over 20 years of experience.
Martin was the Executive Producer for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 and 2016 when the Contest was hosted by Swedish EBU Member SVT in Malmö and Stockholm respectively.
The Reference Group was established in 1998 and is the executive committee tasked with overseeing the organisation of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Participating Broadcasters.
As of July 2022, the Reference Group includes:
Frank-Dieter Freiling (ZDF)
Sietse Bakker (NPO)
Felix Bergsson (RÚV)
Carla Bugalho (RTP)
Astrid Dutrenit (NPO)
Simona Martorelli (RAI)
David Tserunyan (AMPTV)
Martin Österdahl (EBU)
The Reference Group is established by the EBU Television Committee and its tasks are:
- Approving the development and future format of the Eurovision Song Contest
- Securing the financing of the Eurovision Song Contest
- Modernising the brand and raising awareness of the Eurovision Song Contest
- Overseeing the yearly preparation by the Host Broadcaster
The Reference Group meets four to five times each year on behalf of all Participating Broadcasters, and is required to take decisions in the general interest of the Contest.
The Reference Group is composed of the following members :
- The Chairperson
- Three elected members from among the Heads of Delegations
- Two Executive Producers from previous host countries, as well as the Executive Producer of the current Host Broadcaster
- Up to two invited members based on competence and experience
- The EBU Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor
You can read more about the Reference Group on the EBU website.
The Eurovision Song Contest is usually organised by the national public broadcaster of the country that won the year before (with some notable exceptions). In 2022 the Host Broadcaster was Rai from Italy.
For the Host Broadcaster, organising the Contest is an unprecedented but exciting challenge which includes working closely with the Host City and appointing a domestic Executive Producer who can oversee and manage operations.
The Participating Broadcasters are…. the broadcasters participating in the Eurovision Song Contest of any given year!
The list changes from year to year as broadcasters debut, leave and rejoin the Contest, but it usually comprises around 40 competing delegations.
Participating Broadcasters work hard to prepare acts that will qualify from the show’s Semi-Finals, hoping for a ticket to the Saturday night Grand Final where they will join the so-called ‘Big Five’ broadcasters.
The Big Five are the Participating Broadcasters from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom - the group of countries who via their broadcasters make the biggest financial contribution towards the organisation of the Contest.
Head of Delegation (HoD)
Each Participating Broadcaster taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest must appoint a Head of Delegation (HoD). This person is the European Broadcasting Union's contact point and leader of their country’s delegation at the Contest.
A delegation, managed by the Head of Delegation, also includes a Head of Press (HoP), the artists, songwriters, composers, backing vocalists and, of course, the artist's entourage. The size of a delegation can vary greatly.
Traditionally, the HoDs meet in March before the Contest to discuss and learn about the upcoming event.