Open Mic closed

Talent hunt hit by sponsor problems

One of the biggest nationwide searches for new stand-up comics will not go ahead this year because of difficulties finding a sponsor.

The Daily Telegraph, which has backed the Open Mic Awards for the last seven years, has decided not to renew the deal this year.

A spokesman for comedy agency Avalon, which runs the awards, confirmed: "The Open Mic Awards do not have a sponsor for 2003 and therefore will not be taking place through the next 12 months."

However, he added that the company was "in discussion with various potential sponsors for 2004".

The competition attracts around 1,000 entrants a year, and a high-profile final at the Edinburgh Festival has boasted an impressive line-up of celebrity judges including Caroline Aherne, Michael Barrymore, Steve Coogan, Harry Enfield and Frank Skinner.

The Telegraph sponsorship deal has ended because the newspaper is shifting its promotional efforts away from students, but marketing manager Catherine Starling, said: "The Open Mic Award has been a great platform for us to reach the student and youth market."

At this year's final, host Chris Addison repeatedly mocked the Telegraph's "misguided" attempt to woo young readers - referring to its 'Nazi-style' masthead and joking: "If they really want to kids to like them, they should learn to lighten up a bit."

Published: 30 Sep 2002

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