By Eshan Wickrema and Lachlan James
Is there really such a thing as a Eurovision curse? Or, is it simply a numbers game – requiring a basic try, try again approach? Let’s shed some light on this oft asked question, by using Business Intelligence and data visualization to reveal Eurovision win rates by country.
Number of entries vs number of wins by country at Eurovision (1956 – 2014)
Note: Chart is sorted in descending order by number of wins
- Ireland have secured the most number of Eurovision wins (7), and also boast the best winning percentage (14.29%) from its 49 entries
- Luxembourg has the second best winning percentage behind Ireland (13.51%), claiming five Eurovision titles from just 37 appearances
- Belgium, one of the seven countries to participate in the first Eurovision in 1956, has partaken in 57 of 59 competitions for just one victory, for a win rate of just 1.75%
Assessing winning ratios at Eurovision (1956 – 2014)
Sorted in descending order by the number of wins, the above ‘Eurovision Win Rate’ chart reveals a notable trend. Whilst there are several noteworthy exceptions to the rule, those countries that have won more Eurovision titles have generally entered a greater number of times compared to those who have won fewer Eurovision crowns.
For example, those countries with three or more Eurovision titles (nine countries) have entered the contest an average of 50 (49.9) times each. By contrast, those nations with just one Eurovision trophy have entered the competition an average of 26 (25.9) times each.
But, there are notable exceptions to this rule. Belgium – one of the seven countries to participate in the first Eurovision in 1956 – could consider its Eurovision success rate unlucky, with a winning percentage of just 1.75% after claiming one victory from 57 attempts. Likewise, Finland have entered the Eurovision Song Contest 49 times, following its debuted in Eurovision 1961, for one win (a winning percentage of 2.04%). Comparably, Greece has been represented at Eurovision on 36 occasions since making its debut at Eurovision 1974, for a single conquest (a winning percentage of 2.78%).
As mentioned in one of our formative Eurovision blog posts, Data visualization shows most successful Eurovision nations, Luxembourg is on the other end of the spectrum. Luxembourg has made just 37 appearances for five wins (a winning percentage of 13.51%). By contrast, France (58 entries, winning percentage of 8.62%), the UK (58 entries, winning percentage of 8.62%) and Sweden (55 entries, winning percentage of 9.09%) have all had to work considerably harder for their five Eurovision crowns. But, Ireland remains the all-time Eurovision champ, with an unmatched seven victories from its 49 entries, also giving it the best winning percentage in the competitions history (14.29%).
However, since the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, only 26 of the 52 countries that have participated have won. So, as noted in our blog post Data visualization reveals most unlucky Eurovision nations, the most inauspicious odds probably belong to countries not even depicted in the above visualization. So behold: The unluckiest Eurovision nations (see below).
For example, both Iceland and Malta have entered 28 times without a victory, while Cyprus has been represented 32 luckless times. But, Portugal has the worst Eurovision record of the lot, competing in 48 out of a possible 59 Eurovision Song Contests, without a win. They haven’t even managed to claim the runners-up mantle.
Where to next?
It’s difficult to discern concrete factors that might affect winning ratios at Eurovision. From a geographic perspective, our Data visualization compares Eurovision winners & runners-up blog uncovered that countries located in the Western half of Europe had generally experience more success. So what other factors might influence a nations’ winning percentage at Eurovision? Does population and GDP play a role? Stay tuned for our next Eurovision data blog to find out.