The minute Salvador Sobral touched the Eurovision 2017 trophy, preparations for Eurovision 2018 started and MEO Arena positioned itself as the front-runner to host the musical extravaganza.
After a competitive selection process, Lisbon ended up winning the bid — and all eyes turned to MEO Arena, named after Portugal Telecom’s MEO brand. But between then and now French billionaire Patrick Drahi, owner of the telecom company Altice, purchased Portugal Telecom.
Naturally the purchase includes Portugal Telecom’s existing interests. So yesterday, amidst a celebratory party in Parque das Nações, MEO Arena was rebranded as Altice Arena.
Though several media outlets published rumours about the rebranding earlier this week, Altice has only now officially announced the decision to its shareholders and top ranking officers.
Altice 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.
Altice Arena’s new promo makes it clear that the show — well, all of its shows — will go on.
“Everything continues on the same stage. Rhythm and music. Lights and arts. Emotion and sports. Dreams and entertainment. Altice Arena, the show continues.”
Despite the rebranding it’s unlikely the outcome will affect Eurovision preparations in any way, since Altice is committed to the Portuguese market.
Executive President Michel Combes considers Portugal Telecom a “diamond” and the country a key market for the multinational company.
Back in August, wiwibloggers William Lee Adams and Bernardo Tavares Pereira were in Lisbon showing you the surroundings of the arena and teased the possibility of the name change in the video above — something that is now confirmed publicly.
PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES
For journalists and bloggers covering Eurovision, and spending up to two weeks basically living at the arena, the area surrounding the venue is significant. In Malmö the venue was opposite a shopping mall, so it was easy to grab food and other essentials during the fortnight. But in Copenhagen the venue was in the middle of nowhere.
Thankfully the Parque das Nações, home to Altice Arena, has it all — from food to entertainment. From the Portuguese food at Bota Feijão to the Chinese at Old House to the some quick and delish pizza at Il Pizzarium, visitors will not be forced to eat at Mafia every day (if you were in Kyiv, you’ll know what we are talking about).
You can grab a selfie along the Ponte Vasco da Gama — Europe’s longest bridge — and buy clothes for EuroClub at the nearby Vasco da Gama Shopping Mall. The latter is an airy and bright temple to fashion with more than 170 shops, including 33 restaurants, six movie screens and a health club. Sign us up!
Are you excited about Eurovision 2018? Have you booked your hotel rooms and airline tickets? Let us know in the comments box below.
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