The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 is over and we can start looking forward to next year. In 2018, Portugal will host the contest for the first time in history. In this article we take a first look at the facts and expectations for Lisbon 2018.
Broadcaster RTP is already moving forward fast, especially compared to Ukraine this year. For instance, two days after their victory in Kiev, RTP announced the host city for May 2018. It is going to be the capital, Lisbon.
Dates for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest
In recent years EBU always announced the dates for the contest of the upcoming year during the Head of Delegation meeting of the year before. This year however, it remains silent. Maybe because there was a lot to do about the dates in 2017?
Let’s take a look at the possible dates in May. It looks like the contest will most likely take place on the 8th, 10th and 12th of May. In the first week of May, the first semi final would coincide with Labor Day on the 1st of May. This is an official holiday in Portugal, thus the contest will probably not take place in that week.
On Saturday the 19th of May, the German cup final takes place in Berlin. Last year, this was one of the reasons why the contest was not rescheduled a week later, when the contest had to get a new set of dates. The week of the 26th of May is definitely not an option, since the final of the UEFA Champions League will take place on that date. The EBU does not want to have the grand final of Eurovision clash with that event.
Venue for the contest in Lisbon
Though the venue for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest has not been confirmed yet, many people expect that the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will take place in the MEO Arena (pictured above the article). The Director General of RTP, Nuno Artur Silva, expressed the venue in Lisbon as a likely one to host the contest. It makes sense, since it is the joint third largest indoor arena in Europe and the largest in Portugal. The arena already hosted many concerts, from several big superstars.
The MEO Arena has a capacity of 20.000 people, though its normal capacity may be slightly reduced for a big stage and camera positions. According to ESC Insight the other venues are likely to be close to the arena. The arena itself is well served for public transport, due to the nearby Oriente metro and train station. The Park of Nations area which surrounds the venue has plenty of options for support facilities such as a press centre, Euroclub and Eurovillage as well as many bars and cafes. RTP will not be short of eager sponsors. Lots of companies will want to be associated with this long overdue hosting of Eurovision.
Who will take part and will Australia be there?
The broadcasters of Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have already publicated their interest/confirmation to take part again.
Although it is unknown whether RTP will invite the Australian broadcaster Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) to participate in the 2018 edition, the Head of Delegation – Paul Clarke, has stated that they would look into the possibility of holding their own national final in order to select their representatives for future contests.
Russia also seems to return to the contest which is interesting. In 2016, Ukraine won after a one-year absence and in 2017, Portugal did the same thing. However, we have to wait until the Reference Group has looked at the Russia-Ukraine crisis in the Eurovision Song Contest. Perhaps EBU will sentence one of these countries or both for the way things turned out in this year.
The Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA) shut down after the final broadcast of their regular nightly news programme. As a consequence, all regular programming on television and radio were discontinued and the second semi final and final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 were the last programmes transmitted by the IBA.
The new broadcasting corporation IPBC is not member of the EBU. This is a requirement to participate in the Song Contest. However, IPBC is expected to apply for EBU membership later this year and will most likely be accepted. Therefore, Israel can continue to participate and will be able to take part in Lisbon.
The Eurovision fan experience in Portugal
We actually expect Lisbon 2018 to be great! For the first time since Baku 2012 the contest will be in a sunny place. The locations as mentioned above are in short distance of each other and the local people seem to be wild for Eurovision to come to Portugal.
The country has been taking part since 1964 and never achieved a higher ranking than the 6th place. The last time this happened was already back in 1996. When we see the footage of how many people celebrated on the streets in Portugal and went to the airport to give Salvador Sobral a massive homecoming surprise, we believe that there will be a lot of faithful volunteers and local people to give the fans from all over Europe a wonderful time in Lisbon. We can hardly wait!