Lisbon proposed as Host City for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest

Portuguese national broadcaster RTP has announced that they intend Lisbon to be the Host City for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. MEO Arena seems the most likely venue. Before they can be officially named host city, the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest has to review and approve the plans.

This we know following a statement by RTP General Director Nuno Artur Silva. He also said that the expected budget will be 30 million euros. A large part of this will come from sponsorship agreements, local and sometimes national governments.

After winning the Eurovision Song Contest, the national broadcaster of the winning country is given detailed information about what is expected of them, the host city and the venue. When Danish broadcaster was feeling the heat for having spend too much money for the 2014 Contest, they published some of these requirements. From this we know:

  • EBU requires the host city to have 10.000 hotel rooms, for crew, participants, press and fans
  • Ther needs to be a suitable arena as well to host the Euroclub, with a size of 1000 m2, two stages and six bars
  • The press center should have a capacity of 1500 people

All of this will be taken into consideration when the Reference Group goes through the plans from RTP. Though, as the MEO Arena has been mentioned as the only suitable venue to host a Eurovision Song Contest and with Lisbon being the capital city they would be likely to go along with RTP’s suggestion.

The Reference Group will have a meeting shortly after the contest, which technically is the earliest time the host city can be confirmed. It is however not likely to happen already so fast, as detailed plans would have to be presented. Kyiv was announced as Host City of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in September last year. With only one city, and by looks of it also only one venue, official confirmation would be expected to come a bit earlier this time though.

Reference Group meetings typically happen four to five times a year, so the earliest possible moment won’t be for another couple months. It consists of a chairperson, three members elected by the Heads of Delegation of the participating broadcasters, the executive producer of the last two host countries and the executive producer of the current host country. Finally,  EBU’s Executive Supervisor is also a member of the distinguished group, totalling 8. They have to approve everything regarding the Eurovision Song Contest; including rule changes, dates, and indeed the host city and venue plans.

About the MEO Arena

The MEO arena is multi purpose arena, built in 1998 for the Expo ’99. According to Wikipedia, it’s one the largest indoor arenas in the European Union, and has a capacity of 20.000. The name refers to the main sponsor, Portuguese telephone operator MEO. Whether we will see the arena use this name for Eurovision remains to be seen. The arena for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf was not able to use it’s own name Espirit Arena Düseeldorf as Espirit was not one of the official sponsors of the contest.

Notable events hosted at the MEO arena include

  • Expo ’98
  • 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards
  • 1999 FIBA Under-19 World Championship (basketball)
  • Several WWE Wresetling shows

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