It’s the Iberian nation that took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 49 times without a single victory.

But the situation changed dramatically for Portugal in 2017 when Salvador Sobral won the entire competition with his jazzy ballad “Amar Pelos Dois“, scoring a record-breaking 758 points in the process.

And while Portugal’s Eurovision fans continue to ride a high over the landmark win, RTP is busy deciding which city will host next year’s extravaganza. It has now conducted technical visits to the cities of LisbonGondomar, Santa Maria da Feira and Braga to get an initial sense of how each city might host the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

In the days after Portugal’s win, RTP’s own evening news program reported that Lisbon would serve as host city. And fans — at home and abroad — have also assumed that Lisbon is the only city with a realistic shot at this.

But RTP — the publicly owned broadcaster — has decided on a transparent and democratic bidding process, allowing all cities that have an interest in welcoming Europe next year to plead their case.

“We have a lot of commercial interest, but we’re still in the phase of creating the concept,” RTP’s President Gonçalo Reis said in a recent interview with Jornal de Negócios.

“We already have a financial model defined, but Eurovision requires the involvement of the host city, tourism boards and an effort to create partnerships with both public and private sponsors.”

Basically cities gotta show us that money honey…and how they would secure it.

RTP and the EBU must now decide which cities meet the criteria, which is laid down by the EBU’s Reference Group and covers issues such as venue, transport infrastructure, funding and hotels.

LISBON

With a great transportation network and endless accommodation options, the Portuguese capital is the front runner to host. It has an international airport with its own subway station, allowing visitors to reach the city centre in less than 20 minutes.

MEO Arena is the biggest venue in Portugal and has unrivalled experience hosting large-scale music events. With a capacity of around 20,000, it has already welcomed global superstars like Ariana Grande, Adele, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. If B can drink “Lemonade” there then so can we…

Located in Parque das Nações, the venue boasts great transport links, a mall, restaurants and other infrastructure to support the contest. Plus it’s literally by the river, which will help calm nervous performers and excited fans.

GONDOMAR

The second option takes us north to the city of Gondomar, which hopes to host the event in its more intimate Multiusos de Gondomar.

The arena can welcome around 8,000 people, but the city lacks the wide range of hotels and transport infrastructure that Lisbon offers. At least some people (OK, thousands) would likely have to stay out of town — and then they’d struggle to get to and from the venue.

It is served by Porto’s International Airport, which is 25km away from the city.

SANTA MARIA DA FEIRA

Santa Maria da Feira is a small municipality but it has one of the most Eurovision-friendly venues in its Europarque de Santa Maria da Feira.

With a capacity of around 11,000 people, it’s hosted concerts from Portuguese artists including Amália Rodrigues, Bernardo Sassetti and Carlos do Carmo, but also international acts like Dionne Warwick, Tony Bennett and the London Symphony Orchestra. It can do big events.

It may have the venue, but unfortunately the city lacks accommodation options and a proper transport network. Plus it’s only served by Porto’s International Airport, which is 50km away.

BRAGA

Braga is one of the new hot spots in Portugal, with the number of tourists rising exponentially year on year. Portugal’s third-largest city is described by Lonely Planet as “an elegant town laced with ancient narrow lanes closed to vehicles” and one known for its vigour, owing partly to its large student population.

During a recent press conference, town president Ricardo Rio discussed the possibility of welcoming Eurovision after renovating a number of areas and buildings, including its Exposition Park.

After its construction — expected to be finished by March —  the main venue would be able to welcome around 15,000 people. The city already has plans to greatly expand its accommodation offerings. Unfortunately they can’t move the city any closer to an airport — the nearest international airport is 53km away — and it lacks an efficient transport system in and out of the city.

Portugal is putting a great amount of effort into making the next edition of Eurovision one to the remember. We are thrilled that RTP will be living and breathing Eurovision as much as we are all year long. Boa sorte, Portugal!

Where would like Eurovision 2018 to take place? Do you desperately want to travel to Lisbon or are you OK with the other options? Let us know in the comments box below. 

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Tim
Guest
Tim

In my opinion this whole process is so that Meo Arena calms down on it’s price. If it was the single option they’d hype their price. Seeing there are other real options they’ll want to guarantee it for them, bringing the price down

Grete Paia
Guest
Grete Paia

I just hope its not a fast food contest with a lot of fireworks. Music is in the soul

Marco
Guest
Marco

Eurovision in Gondomar or Santa Maria da Feira?

You must be joking. It’s impossible to even consider these options. Braga would be fine if they had a big arena, but anyway Lisbon is clearly the best option… by miles!

(And I’m from Porto)

Bart
Guest
Bart

I am very irritated with all this “process”. This whole interest of those towns are just to satisfy the egos of those small minded mayors and to justify why the heck they have those infrastructure that are not used to thei full capacity. Also, this is happening in the eve of the local elections campaign. Those mayors just want a big fat bonus to show to their citizens to be reelected, instead of concentrating on what really matters which would be to implement a good public transport, for instance.

Joana
Guest
Joana

Hi Bart, I am from Porto, lived in Braga for 17 years and now I am abroad. I know very well the 4 cities. They all are, apart from Lisbon, near Porto. Actually, Godomar e Vila da Feira used to be dormitories cities from Porto. I actually think that Braga is a good candidate. Plenty of international events happen there. It was one of the cities that welcomed the UEFA Euro 2008. Although is “53” km from the airport, it is actually quite close. And believe me, if knowing people from the north as I know, the transportation will be… Read more »

Bart
Guest
Bart

Hi Joana. I was born and raised in Braga… I now live in Lisbon. I very much appreciate you defending Braga. That is actually quite sweet. But I am sorry to say, that you are giving quite a rosy image of Braga, though… I also believe that compared to Gondomar or Santa Maria da Feira, Braga is a much better alternative. In general I am all for having the ESC outside the capitals. But Braga just doesn’t have the transport system and hotel offer… But I do take your point that people from there would do the impossible to solve… Read more »

Paul Brennan
Guest

I ?? Lisbon!!

ESC84
Guest
ESC84

I think it’s interesting exploring cities which is not that famous, it also gives small cities a chance to develop tourism.

Darren
Guest
Darren

I don’t know why small countries insist on holding a bidding process whenever the only obvious choice is staring them in the face, and will likely be chosen as the host city. Portugal isn’t a country with large scale cities like Germany, France, Spain, UK, Ukraine, Italy. Lisbon and Porto only come close to being of the standard she required for hosting such a contest, and the mayor of Porto has already declined. It will be and it should be Lisbon. It’s the only option realistically and logistically. Small countries like Portugal, Ireland, Austria only have 1 main city with… Read more »

John
Guest
John

that is not true..by the way Portugal and Austria are not small for european standart. they are medium size countries
However in democracy its normal to have some choices/options before you chose and decide.

R
Guest
R

It was 20+ years ago, but ESC was in a tiny village in countryside Ireland. Nothing is impossible!

Grete Paia
Guest
Grete Paia

What an idiotic comment

Kindoff
Guest
Kindoff

Guys, please give the news right how they are. Santa Maria da Feira and Gondomar don’t have enough Hotels, and Braga hasn’t that building yet. It dosen’t started yet. Only have 3000 places right now. Lisbon is the only CITY with full capacity.

Osterreich
Guest
Osterreich

Why not Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo?

Benny
Guest
Benny

Maybe if Portugal won the contest in 1717, then maybe it could of been in Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Because they are in a different country if course. That would be like Austria winning and hosting in Berlin.

Osterreich
Guest
Osterreich

I’m just joking you fool! Im sure it will be in Lisbon.

Jo
Guest
Jo

Maybe in a Casino in Macau.

Osterreich
Guest
Osterreich

Yeah and China will debut next year.

R
Guest
R

Luanda or Praia would be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better!

AFRIKA PAPRIKA!!!

Ariso Light
Guest
Ariso Light

#Lisbon2018

Manuel Moreira
Guest
Manuel Moreira

I’m from Oporto, sadly my city (the second largest in Portugal) is not running for the hosting :c

However let me correct one thing here, Braga has a great and fast train connection with Porto.

Anyone going to Braga could land at Porto airport and from there to Braga it’s easy

L'oiseau
Guest
L'oiseau

I am originally from Braga and this is not true. It takes ages to get from the Airport to Braga. Public transportation from the Airport is not an option. And besides there is no way that Braga or the surroundings have the hotel capacity.

Denis
Guest
Denis

These kind of selection processes is only formality, Lisbon will eventually be chosen as host.
The selection only works in countries like UK, Germany or France with several major big cities with good transportation and where any of the cities can be chosen. For the rest of the continent the capital is the only alternative.

pt fan
Guest
pt fan

Santa Maria da Feira is not small…the information in this site isn’t true.

Grete Paia
Guest
Grete Paia

Santa Maria and Estoril are big modern cities with major infrastructure to hold a contest

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

For me, this is a first sign that the 2018 is not going to be a vintage year for the contest.

Jake
Guest
Jake

So a city bidding process means that the songs will be bad? Why would looking into picking a city to host the event be a sign of the contest not being a vintage year?!?!

Hada
Guest
Hada

You can do vintage even in a 50,000 people arena if you want. I have faith that RTP will host a beautiful Eurovision next year

Bart
Guest
Bart

This is ridiculous and frankly strikes me a little bit as racist. And besides many ‘vintage’ years were held in small venues and horrible years in big ones.

Jakosc
Guest
Jakosc

Actually Villa Nova de Gaia is third biggest City in Portugal

VF
Guest
VF

It’s part of Greater Porto, like Santa Maria da Feira and Gondomar, that’s why it’s usually included in “Porto”. By that definition, Braga is the third largest.

Kate
Guest
Kate

This seems like a pointless money wasting exercise.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Do the EBU insist on having this ridiculous bidding process every year?

Why can’t the host broadcaster just decide which is best and go with it?

The EBU has this cookie cutter approach to the contest every year, everything must be followed to the letter of ridiculous protocol – which incorporates many elements there simply to pump up the “grand prestige” of the event in a misguided attempt to be like the Olympics, to be on a par with other grand scale events. Something it does not need to do.

Bernardo Pereira
Editor

Despite agreeing with you, we need to have in consideration the fact that RTP is a Public owned broadcaster and it has to be transparent and democratic about all choices including all the places available in Portugal. It’s the state broadcaster. It needs to work for the state and not only for Lisbon or Porto.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Could you imagine the continent wide bidding process their would be if Australia won?

Aria
Guest
Aria

No…..cause Australia doesn’t get to host even if it does win.

Chris (frostyw)
Guest
Chris (frostyw)

Australia would get to choose the site in Europe. It’s still a bidding process.

Tusán
Guest

Okay, are we seriously going to act like there are other options besides Lisbon? Come on…

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Hay otras opciones, si

4li3n
Guest
4li3n

Fátima 2018
(the good people will understand)

R
Guest
R

Hallelujah! :mrgreen:

L'oiseau
Guest
L'oiseau

LOL I think RTP will need some of Her mojo

Grete Paia
Guest
Grete Paia

It will be a miracle. Valentina Monetta will win with russia came second with gay entry

Maria
Guest
Maria

The bidding is just a formality… Santa Maria da Feira and Braga have no chance because they are very small towns, lacking accommodation, and transport networks. Portugal’s second city (that is Porto) is not interested, so it’s going to be Lisbon anyway.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

That’s what they said about Millstreet in 1992/3.

Grete Paia
Guest
Grete Paia

stupid reply

Max
Guest
Max

I would love for any of those cities to host, but Lisbon seems like the easiest answer because it already has the necessary public transit and such. I hope they win again and they can host it in Porto next time!

Jo
Guest
Jo

For a first victory, I think Lisbon is the most appropriate city. If Portugal wins again then other cities may be considered.
It’s like Russia in 2009 with Moscow, now they can think about Sochi, Kazan or St. Petersburg if they win again.

Ralph Jones
Guest
Ralph Jones

It’s got to be Lisbon it’s a no brainer surely

ninasublatti
Guest
ninasublatti

It will probably be a sh*tty small arena with the capacity of 10.000 as usual! I miss Eurovision 2009!!

Xepher
Guest
Xepher

Bigger arena doesn’t really mean better though

However in terms of accommodations for performers, delegations, fans, etc and amount of hotels, transportation, etc. Lisbon has this in the bag no doubt. It’ll be silly to host it somewhere else

Jo
Guest
Jo

Lisbon’s arena has 20.000 in capacity.
Btw, Copenhagen 2014 looked much bigger than it actually was.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I prefer smaller venues. It is a television production, designed for people in their living rooms. I’ve never understood why a massive stadium is necessary. It is a not a live concert, or the Olympics.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

How small? Like perhaps 1997 small? [By the way, I thought it was one of the very best.]

Grete Paia
Guest
Grete Paia

because people come from all over europe and its always sold out you moron

John
Guest
John

yes..russia has size but the west countries have the quality

VF
Guest
VF

Don’t worry, it will be in MEO Arena, one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe.

Christian
Guest
Christian

10,000 isn’t small. I also don’t see why some hardcore fans always want to have the biggest arena. We have seen what happened in 2001.

Jake
Guest
Jake

I hope RTP lands on MEO and Lisbon but do think they should consider Festival da Cancao in one of those other smaller venues for a SanRemo or Eesti Laul type of show.