Just three days after they went on sale, the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) on Sunday halted the purchase of tickets for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest due to suspected irregularities. The suspected irregularities include the fact that two of the hosts claimed some of the best seats for their own guests.
Kan instructed events website Leaan to freeze the competition's ticket sales until further notice after its monitoring system raised concerns about irregularities and deficiencies during the selling process.
Israel won the right to host the event after Netta Barzilai’s song “Toy” emerged victorious during last year’s competition. The final of the competition will be held on May 18 at Expo Tel Aviv.
Kan said there were several attempts to interfere in the sales process, and that some 300 tickets for the best seats, worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, were sold to senior media and sports figures, among them two of the Eurovision hosts, Erez Tal and Assi Azar, instead of the wider public and "in complete contravention of the instructions of Kan's Board of directors."
A source connected to the two hosts said that neither man believed "he was doing anything wrong. The tickets were bought at full price."
In response, the Leaan ticket sale site said that it had merely followed the requests made by the public broadcaster for some seats to be reserved.
"At Kan's request, several tickets were reserved for its guests. The ticket sales ware conducted according to Kan's instructions and with the presence of its representatives. Leaan did not made any decision independently, rather merely provided technical services during ticket sales."
The tickets for the song contest went on sale on Thursday, with the prices for the grand final ranging from NIS 1,500 (approx. $415) to NIS 2,000 ($550) per ticket.
Within two hours all tickets for the grand final on May 18 were sold out, however, tickets for dress reversals and the semi-finals, which are set to take place on May 14 and 16, are still available.
The cheapest tickets that can be purchased are for a dress rehearsal and will range between NIS 350 ($100) and NIS 1,250 ($350). For the semi-finals, which are set to take place on May 14 and 16, the tickets will range from NIS 750 and NIS 1,150. The tickets for the Green Room experience during the semi-finals will cost around NIS 1,000.