Lisbon 2018

RTP meets the Eurovision Reference Group for the first time!

Two days ago marked exactly a month since Salvador Sobral won the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 for Portugal with ‘Amar Pelos Dois’. Yesterday, the Eurovision Reference Group met with representatives from the Portuguese broadcaster RTP for the first time in Geneva!

Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest is a huge task for any broadcaster; it is one of the biggest television events in the world and requires meticulous planning!

What happened at the meeting?

The first meeting with the Eurovision Reference Group is an opportunity for the host broadcaster to receive advice and information about hosting. Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, said:

“Representatives from the team in Ukraine handed over valuable knowledge to colleagues from Portugal. The Eurovision Song Contest is a huge event to organise and the work starts the minute a country wins.”

RTP proposed many venues for the contest throughout Portugal, contrary to the earlier statement that the contest would be held in Lisbon and the popular belief that MEO Arena would host the contest. The announcement of the provisional dates for the 2018 contest should come in the next few weeks. Jon Ola Sand states that:

“The next key milestone will be the selection of a venue, which meets the requirements for hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.”

RTP reminisce on the night they won

Carla Bugalho Trindade, the Head of Delegation for Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest, described how they felt on the night that Salvador won the contest:

“We won for the first time, it was a wonderful experience to finally hear ‘Portugal 12 points’ but we did not expect to win, the main goal was to qualify for the final. When we won, it could not have been better. Everyone stood still to watch the TV, everyone wanted to see Salvador win.”

Carla was with Salvador when they arrived back in Portugal. She describes the reception at the airport as being “amazing, a very special moment”.

The Chief Finance Officer for RTP, Cristina Tomé, adds that:

“We were really happy, we were expecting this for more than 50 years. It was good for our country and for us at RTP. We celebrated of course but we got to work right away. I sent messages to my colleagues, read the documentation given to us by Jon Ola Sand at the winning press conference and we then began to set up the core team.”

What comes next?

There has already been lots of discussion between the team at RTP and the Eurovision Reference Group. Yesterday, the team attended a workshop created by the EBU which covered every aspect of hosting the contest. After the workshop, Cristina Tomé said:

“When we return to Portugal we will finalise the venue and Host City selection including the dates of the 2018 contest. After this it’s time to develop the slogan and artwork. This is more than just Eurovision, this is a huge event.”

You have to come to Portugal, enjoy the country and enjoy the contest. We will have sunshine for you!

It seems to us that Portugal is putting a massive amount of effort into making this the best show that they could give us. It’s fantastic to hear that the preparations so far are going so well! We’re very excited and have high expectations for Portugal to blow us away!

Are you excited to see next year’s contest? Do you share in our high expectations for Portugal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Luke Malam

I've watched Eurovision for as long as I can remember, but my interest really built in 2008, after I decided to watch the semifinals online, out of boredom, before the final...I was blown away by the quality of the show and have been hooked ever since! I'm a competitive trampolinist and I love baking. I've also just completed a master's degree in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London.

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