Channel 4 is on the hunt for a new sponsor for The Great British Bake Off at a pumped up price, after the new-look show defied critics and proved to be the broadcaster’s biggest hit in decades.

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Sponsors Lyle’s golden syrup and baking product maker Dr Oetker are understood not to be seeking to renew their one-year deal, which turned out to be a bargain given the huge success of Channel 4’s first series.

Channel 4 is now seeking to cash-in on Bake Off’s success by raising the cost of the sponsorship from £4m to at least £5m a year and is likely to seek a single sponsor, as the increased asking price is too rich for Lyle’s and Dr Oetker to contemplate.

The broadcaster is sweetening the deal to include spin-off show Crème de la Crème, which features competing professional pastry chefs which previously aired on the BBC.

This has been added to a sponsorship package that includes the 10-part series later this year, two specials over the Christmas and festive period, and the Jo Brand-fronted main spin-off Extra Slice.

“Bake Off has proved far more successful than the market envisaged,” said a senior executive at one of the UK’s biggest media buying agencies.

“I’m not surprised Channel 4 want considerably more to sponsor the show. Most of the risk about whether it would deliver a large audience has been taken away, and it was very popular with hard-to-reach youth audiences. However, Bake Off is the type of show that only appeals to a limited range of advertisers, so it may not turn into a bidding frenzy.”

Poaching the biggest show on TV from the BBC had led Channel 4 to believe there would be a bun fight to sponsor the first series, with hopes that an £8m-plus dealof X Factor proportions might be struck.

However, when it emerged that of the original BBC presenting team only Paul Hollywood had signed up a bidding war failed to materialise, with advertisers fearing Channel 4 had a flop on its hands.

Read more at The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/26/channel-4-hits-sweet-spot-with-bake-off-as-it-seeks-new-sponsor