The Eurovision Song Contest has failed for the first time to find a headline sponsor, despite a commercial push to reinvent the contest as a more serious music show.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which owns the contest, had hoped to find up to four sponsors for the event to take the broadcast rights, on-screen elements, association rights and hospitality. The EBU appointed Team Marketing last year to help make the event more commercial and to attract sponsors (MW May 29, 2003).
The EBU has revamped the competition with a redesigned logo and a new format that sees a qualifying round held mid-week. It has also launched a range of clothing, CDs and other merchandise available through its website.
A spokesperson for Team Marketing says there was a lot of interest but admits that it has been unable to find an “appropriate” pan-European partner for the event. He says potential sponsors will be attending this year’s ceremony with a view to signing for next year.
The EBU has signed Deutsche Telecom as its official telecoms partner. The Team Marketing spokesman claims the telco has created the first pan-European telephone voting platform for the event.
The competition, to be held in Istanbul, will be televised on BBC One this Saturday (May 15). The UK’s entry, Hold Onto Our Love, will be sung by Fame Academy reject James Fox.