London, February 23, 2018 - World Chess, the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship, is to grant the right to any media organization to broadcast moves from the candidates tournament with a five minute delay and a commitment to provide link to the official premium broadcast.
World Chess will provide a live PGN signal for those who are ready to comply with the policy. The rights to the live video broadcast will be retained by World Chess and its official global media partners, with the approval of FIDE, the sport’s governing body.
Joint effort by FIDE and World Chess represents efforts by chess governing body and main organizers to make chess commercially-viable in the long-term and attempt to end the dispute between top chess organizers and commercial websites which claimed that they are entitled to broadcast the moves from chess tournaments without paying organizing costs.
Today’s announcement will ensure the sport reaches the widest possible global audience while protecting the commercial interests of FIDE, its partners, event organizers and the sport’s top players.
Now media sites wishing to broadcast the games, will be able to receive the live data, but they should place the link to the official broadcast page, language prompting the paid subscription which includes video and statement that part of the paid subscription will go towards the prize fund of the tournament. They will also be able to use official widgets provided by World Chess.
The announcement comes 10 days before the first round of the Candidates Tournament, which starts on March 10 in Berlin, Germany. The Tournament, a qualifier to the Championship Match that will take place in London in November, is one of the most popular events in the sport, commanding the audience reaching millions.
Chess fans around the world have been able to follow the games live for free, and in 2016 World Chess, the Championship cycle organizer, has introduced premium pay-per-view online subscription, costing $15 per tournament or $25 per year, which includes TV production, expert commentary, multi-camera view, analytics, chat and more. Over 35,000 bought the premium package during the Championship Match 2016, and World Chess hopes to increase that number to 250,000 this year, or about 5% of the total audience.
Ilya Merenzon, the chief executive of World Chess, said: “Our goal is to make chess commercially sustainable and attractive. Today’s announcement is a step to achieve that goal”.
“We make it very easy for all websites to broadcast games and even make money from it without putting up any costs for organizing the event, but we want and need their help in promoting the paid subscription — we believe this is very fair. We believe that as the sport’s commercial rights holder, we have a duty to protect our IP and combat rogue media organizations that profit from ignoring those rights. Organizations that ignore the policy will be pursued through the US courts — the country with most developed legal framework for this kind of issues”
“We are also happy that FIDE has supported our efforts for developing a fair policy for protection of moves. This will ensure long-term development of the sport,” — adds Merenzon.
Chess as a sport is enjoying record breaking global audience numbers thanks to the strategic changes introduced by World Chess to make the Championship more appealing to fans of the sport.
World Chess announced last year that 10% of online subscription fees would be used to bolster the prize funds for players. The company hopes that in the future a much higher percentage of this revenue stream will go into the prize pot.
Well over 10m people watched the live online broadcast of the games from the Championship Match in New York in November 2016.
The winner of the forthcoming Candidates Tournament in Berlin will challenge reigning champion Magnus Carlsen for the 2018 Match to be held in London in November.
For all the latest news on the 2018 World Chess Championship Match in London, please visit and follow the hashtag #LondonPlaysChess.