Agon Ltd, the organizer of the World Chess Championship cycle, today announced that chess fans will be able to follow all the live action from the Candidates tournament by logging onto WorldChess.com.
All video footage as well as the moves from each game will be shown exclusively at WorldChess.com and by approved broadcast partners in certain countries.
This is a substantial change from the way chess has been broadcasted. Previously it was common practice that all websites were able to receive moves without broadcast limitations, resulting in a diffusion of major tournaments’ audiences and sponsorship values.
The move is designed to enhance and safeguard the viewing experience for chess fans and to protect the commercial future of World Championship events.
Ilya Merenzon, Chief Executive of Agon, said: “If we are to continue to grow the global appeal of chess for the benefit of all fans of the sport, we need to attract and retain further commercial sponsors. In order to do that we need to control how the World Chess Championship cycle is broadcast globally.
“This is the reality for all sports. For example, you would not expect the commercial rights holder to top flight football to simply allow any website or broadcaster to screen live games. Controlling who can broadcast live games and the moves from the Candidates is exactly the same principle.”
The same broadcast conditions will apply to the World Championship Match in New York in November and all future events in the Championship cycle.
Mr Merenzon added: “This is simply a way to protect commercial value. It takes enormous money and effort to hold major chess events, and live transmission is a product of that effort. Chess fans will be able to follow the action for free from the Candidates tournament at worldchess.com, but they will have to agree to terms and conditions that include not re-transmitting the moves elsewhere. Same for tournament visitors and journalists.”
Chess fans will be able to follow the action from the Candidates tournament for free at WorldChess.com and in Norway on NRK. Coverage will also include live commentary of the games in progress, press conferences with the players and all the other news from the event.
About Agon Ltd
Agon Limited is the official partner of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and owner the World Chess brand as well as commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle. The company aims to develop and commercialize chess, create favorable environment for partners, players, and brands, and to significantly expand the broadcast coverage of the sport.
Agon Limited became owner of the commercial rights in 2012. The company successfully managed the 2012-2013 Grand Prix cycle, the 2014 World Championship Match, and the 2015 Rapid and Blitz World Championships. The company operates the WorldChess.Com website, the official broadcasting platform of the Championship cycle.