BNT, the Bulgarian national broadcaster, has confirmed to ESCToday that Bulgaria will not participate at the forthcoming 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, thus the country will withdraw from the competition next year.
Bulgaria’s decision to withdraw from the song contest comes as a shock to the Eurovision fan community, as the its national broadcaster had confirmed to ESCToday the country’s preliminary participation at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel earlier last month.
This is the third time that Bulgaria has decided to withdraw from the competition, having opted out of the contest in 2014 due to financial reasons. The following year Bulgaria applied to participate in the event but later withdrew its application citing it lacked funds to partake in the competition.
The Bulgarian broadcaster has withdrawn from the Eurovision Song Contest due to financial constraints afflicting BNT and released the following statement via its official Eurovision Twitter account:
OFFICIAL STATEMENT | 15 OCTOBER | Sofia, Bulgaria
We are sad to announce that Bulgaria withdraws from #Eurovision. The decision is based on financial reasons because the costs of the project far exceed the financial capacity of BNT according to the Management of the broadcaster
— BNT Eurovision Bulgaria 🇧🇬 (@bg_eurovision) 15 de octubre de 2018
BNT released the following press release regarding its decision to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest:
BNT’s Managing Board has decided that the public broadcaster will not participate at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. The decision is part of the measures that the television management has undertaken to optimize public spending.
For the last two years BNT has organized the Bulgarian Eurovision performance with the support of partners – production companies or professional teams who also participated in the funding.
Nevertheless, the cost of preparing the Bulgarian participation and representative, creating and producing a song, stage performance, producing a music video, and inclusion in the events of the competition program outweigh the reasonable costs that the public television can afford.
In addition to the direct costs of preparing the relevant representative, participating countries also share part of the cost of the competition itself, which this year amounts to 5.3 million EUR.
Bulgaria in Eurovision
Bulgaria joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 and is yet to win the competition. The Balkan nation’s best result in the contest was achieved in 2017 when Kristian Kostov placed 2nd in the Grand Final in Kyiv.
Bulgaria has participated in Europe’s favorite television show 12 times. The country withdrew from the competition in 2014 due to financial reasons and returned to the event in 2016 with flying colours when Poli Genova placed 4th in Stockholm.
Prior to 2016 Bulgaria had only made it once to the Grand Final since its debut in 2005. The country has seen a reversal of fortune in the contest since its return in 2016, qualifying to the Grand Final three years in a row ( 2016, 2017, 2018).
In 2018 Bulgaria selected Equinox via an internal selection to fly the Bulgarian flag at the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon with their entry Bones. The five member group placed 14th in the Grand Final in Portugal.