After the longest wait in Eurovision history Portugal stormed to victory on 14 May 2017 at the 62nd ESC in Kiev. Salvador Sobral’s unique “Amar Pelos Dois” swept both the jury and public votes, earning Portugal the right to stage the contest in 2018.
Preparations began almost immediately after the Kiev contest with a number of different Portuguese cities bidding for the right to stage the live shows. On 25 July 2017, it was announced that the Altice Arena in Lisbon would host the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. The arena was built for Expo 1998 and is one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe with a maximum capacity of around 20,000, although the capacity was considerably smaller for the ESC live shows which took place on 8, 10 and 12 May, 2018.
Fan ticketing arrangements were agreed with the EBU and RTP who made 1700 ticket packages available in various categories to OGAE members. Demand from members was extremely high with, almost 5000 members requesting tickets, so many were disappointed, having to resort instead to the public sales that took place between December 2017 and April 2018.
The Lisbon ESC was attended my more fans (and more OGAE members) than ever, and the city was full of Eurovision enthusiasts for the whole week. There was an especially large contingent from neighbouring Spain. With so many fans visiting, it was very difficult to provide facilities for everyone, especially as the EuroClub was the smallest in living memory with a capacity of only 700. OGAE Portugal worked with OGAE International to organise an OGAE EuroCafe which provided a Eurovision-themed venue for 2000 members to party throughout finals week.
The 63rd Eurovision Song Contest was won by Netta from Israel singing “Toy” thus earning Israel the right to stage the 64th contest.