Eurovision 2016

Eurovision set for US as gay channel announces live show

Eurovision set for US as gay channel announces live show
Eurovision flags flying in Stockholm this week. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
US television channel Logo, geared toward the LGBT community, will broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest final live in the United States, organisers have announced.

The European Broadcasting Union said it had signed a deal with the channel, part of the Viacom group, making it the first US broadcaster of the event, to be held this year in Stockholm.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is now a truly global phenomenon and we are extremely happy that US viewers now get to join those all over Europe, Australia and Asia,” the contest's executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand said in a statement.

Last year, 197 million people watched Sweden's Mans Zelmerlöw win the contest.

Logo, aimed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, is available in “nearly 50 million homes”, according to the EBU.

Eurovision has for decades been a hugely popular event in gay culture circles, to the extent that the only flags authorised in the venue during the broadcast are those of the UN member states, the European Union and the rainbow flag.

The Swedish capital is this year hosting the contest following an intense battle for the crown between the Nordic country's biggest cities. 

The televised final will take place in Stockholm's iconic Globe Arena on May 14th.

Sweden is one of the most successful Eurovision competitors, with previous winners including Abba in 1974, the Herreys brothers in 1984, Swedish icon Carola in 1991 and Charlotte Nilsson with 'Take Me to Your Heaven' in 1999. More recently, Sweden saw young star Loreen take home the heavily sought out award for her song 'Euphoria' in 2012, three years before Zelmerlöw helped the Scandinavians reclaim the crown.