Rotterdam 2021🇲🇹 Malta

🇲🇹 Minister orders probe into Malta’s Eurovision spending

There are accusations that public money was used to inflate Destiny's odds

Since the release of “Je Me Casse”, the song went on to surge to the top of the betting odds. In light of this success, Destiny’s management confirmed a worldwide deal with Sony Music. Following her first rehearsal, her styling and staging attracted criticism in Malta and among Eurovision viewers. Although the 2021 contest is over, the controversy continues, with Maltese MPs ordering an audit into the country’s Eurovision spending.

In the week of the contest, many fans of the contest (myself included) had noticed that they were receiving targeted ads for some of this year’s competing artists. These included banner ads, sponsored tweets and posts on social media, and even the use of full music videos and performances as ads on YouTube.

Now, the use of targeted advertising to promote Eurovision acts is nothing new. For example, I recall receiving ads to vote for Netta’s “Toy” back in 2018. Considering how much time I spend viewing Eurovision-related content online, I’m hardly surprised that social media algorithms have detected that I’m a fan of the contest.

However, with Eurovision being funded predominantly by public broadcasters (unless private sponsors are brought on board), the level of spending on Eurovision has prompted a Maltese minister to call for an audit of the island’s spending on the contest. Specifically, there is concern that the spending was partially used to inflate Destiny’s odds.

Audit of expenditure launched

As reported by The Times of Malta, Minister Carmelo Abela ordered an audit of expenditure into the island’s Eurovision spending, after he received reports that some of the budget allocated to Malta’s Eurovision team had been used to place bets on “Je Me Casse” to inflate Destiny’s odds with bookmakers.  

The alarm was raised the board of public broadcaster PBS, which falls within Abela’s ministerial remit. Allegedly, someone within PBS has already alluded to some of their budget being spent on funding foreign nationals to bet on Malta to win the 2021 contest. In addition, The Malta Tourism Authority has apparently spent around €350,000 on promoting “Je Me Casse”. 

The audit is due to begin on Monday and will assess the broadcaster’s spending. It is also worth noting that concern around Malta’s spending on the contest was raised in the past. Back in 2016, The Times of Malta filed a Freedom of Information request to seek a full breakdown of all spending by PBS and other government departments on the Eurovision, but was declined.

Destiny ended up getting Malta’s best result in Eurovision since 2005, placing 7th with 255 points.

What do you think of these allegations, and the use of ads and betting odds in general? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify and YouTube to see our reactions to the news in the run up to the 2022 national final season!

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