RTP, the host broadcaster of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, has announced that they are remaining “open-minded” over the venue of the 63rd contest.
The President of the Portuguese broadcaster, Gonçalo Reis, has claimed that they will be analysing all of their available options and assess them against the requirements of the hosting the Eurovision Song Contest. These requirements will include an appropriate venue for hosting the contest, suitable airport links and available hotels.
In the immediate aftermath of this year’s Eurovision, which saw Salvador Sobral bring Portugal it’s first ever win in it’s 49-year history at the contest, RTP announced that Lisbon would host next year’s show in it’s MEO Arena. However since then the cities of Guimarães, Faro and Santa Maria da Feira have all expressed an interest in hosting the contest. On the host city decision, Mr Reis said that it is important for the broadcaster to “choose safe options and always, always, with a national character”. He added that “it is a great honour for RTP to be able to participate in a project that will portray Portugal in a very significant way”.
Last week, the city of Santa Maria de Feira claimed that they want to be considered to host the contest as they have all the required facilities and amenities to host the contest, and have named the event complex Europarque as their venue. However, with an auditorium capacity of less than 2,000, the venue would be have the smallest audience seen at a Eurovision since the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall, which hosted the 1990 contest in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Moreover the closest airport to the city is in Porto, 45km away. These factors make it unlikely that the city would host the contest. Meanwhile Guimarães is situated even further away from an airport, with it’s closest one being the Francisco de Sá Carneiro airport in Porto, 51km away. With Faro’s lack of suitable venue, it looks unlikely that RTP will not choose Lisbon as it’s host city. With a large amount of hotels, a nearby airport, and an arena with a capacity of 20,000, it would be the most suitable host for the contest.
The dates for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest are still to be assigned, and are expected to be confirmed once the host city is announced.