Eurosport has entered into an agreement with Play Magnus Group for the pan-European and Asian rights to the Champions Chess Tour, the first professional online chess tour, for the 2021 season. Chess will take its place alongside other premium sporting events on Eurosport’s platforms for viewers in more than 60 markets across Europe* and Asia, expanding the reach of the professional game to millions.
The agreement sees live and localised coverage of the Champions Chess Tour knock-out rounds screened in English, German, French and Spanish via digital platforms including the Eurosport App (Europe), Dplay (Finland) and Discovery Plus (India).
Match highlights from every tournament across the 2021 season will also be broadcast on Eurosport 1, Eurosport Asia and Eurosport India during primetime slots with replays showed the following day.
To complement this, editorial and social media coverage will be provided by Eurosport including key moments from each tournament and segments focussing on the competition rules to help viewers better understand the game, supporting its continued growth for a global audience.
Trojan Paillot, VP Rights Acquisitions and Distribution at Eurosport, said: “Chess has a great potential to attract a dedicated, global audience and Eurosport has a proven track record in its ability to increase awareness of a sport and establish a solid platform for rights holders to grow their fanbase and attraction towards new territories.
“Play Magnus Group is known for innovating and modernising a game played by over 650 million people globally. Eurosport will facilitate and fasten the development of the game thanks to a combined linear and digital approach, bringing Chess to the widest number of people through our broadcast and distribution operations.”
Emmanuel Mendibure, Head of Federations & Partnerships at Discovery and Eurosport, said: “We believe by joining forces and creating more assets for Play Magnus Group, we will actively contribute to raising the commercial profile of the sport.
Knowing the Champions Chess Tour is an online tournament, our partnership does resonate with our capacity to use all the assets we have to accelerate the growth of an event organiser and our ability to magnify it further by turning it ian entertainment and exciting sporting event.”
Andreas Thome, Play Magnus Group CEO, said: “We are happy and proud for this important collaboration. By partnering with a leading sports network like Eurosport, we are able to bring chess entertainment to a whole new audience and increase our reach globally.
“Instead of exploring a traditional sale of the rights, we have decided to focus on working closely together with Eurosport to develop the sport of chess. At this stage, securing wide distribution is critical for attracting commercial partners for the Champions Chess Tour and building the value of chess broadcast rights over time.”
Play Magnus Group announced on 15 October 2020 that NRK and TV 2 jointly have purchased the broadcasting rights for The Champions Chess Tour in Norway.
The Champions Chess Tour was started as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak in the spring of 2020, when all physical chess tournaments were cancelled.
The first season, which went by the name Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour, was the first professional online chess tour and became a great success with over 17 million unique viewers. The tour included 5 tournaments, and 25 of the world’s best players participated.
In the 2021 season of the Champions Chess Tour, which runs from November 2020 to September 2021, Magnus Carlsen and the world’s top players will compete over ten tournaments for a total prize fund of USD 1.5 million. The tour features fast-paced, exciting rapid-format chess with all games played on www.chess24.com.
Beginning on November 22, fans will experience coverage from the world’s best commentators, opportunities to interact with the players, and a modern broadcast production that highlights the excitement and emotions of chess.