Agon Ltd, the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship cycle, today launched its affiliate programme for the broadcast of the forthcoming Championship Match that takes place in November.
The strategy is designed to provide chess enthusiasts around the world with the highest-level user experience for the eagerly awaited Match between reigning champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia. It will also enable chess websites or media organisations to directly profit from the broadcast of the contest.
Affiliate partners, such as chess and media websites, will be supplied with a widget that will show the live representation of the game board in the Championship Match and also includes a cutting edge chess analysis engine which can think up to 16 moves ahead. The widget will be available in a number of different colours and formats and will be available as a free “plug in” for affiliates’ websites.
The widget will also feature a link to the premium service that includes 360° virtual reality broadcast of the Match, numerous other video feeds as well as grandmaster and guest celebrity commentary.
The premium pay-per-view broadcast, that will cost $15 for the whole match, or about the same price as a cinema ticket, will be promoted on the free widget with the host website receiving up to 10% commission for each of its users who upgrades to it.
Chess websites that accept the terms of using the official broadcast widget will decline to add their own commentary and analysis tools to the live representation of the moves. Instead they will financially benefit from the official Agon premium broadcast.
National chess federations will also be given a unique affiliate code for the premium broadcast product. When a chess fan uses this code to purchase the broadcast, a percentage of that sale goes back to the federation.
Ilya Merenzon, the Chief Executive of Agon, said: “Our mandate has always been to increase the commercial prospects for chess as a global sport and to grow its audience size.
“Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the sustainable commercial development of the sport we all love.
Our affiliate programme is designed to make the Championship Match available for anyone to watch, for free, on their preferred choice of chess website. Secondly, when a user of any website that incorporates our widget chooses to upgrade to our premium pay-per-view broadcast product, that website will directly profit.
And by including national chess federations in our affiliate programme, we will be directly ploughing money back into the grassroots of chess around the world“.
Any chess or other media organisation that wishes to incorporate the free broadcast widget should request membership in the affiliate program at: agonlimited.com/affiliates.
Agon also reiterated today that it would take legal action against any website that broadcasts the live moves of the Championship games without taking the official broadcast widget.
Mr Merenzon said: “A website that wants to broadcast the live moves for free simply has to request the use of our official widget. But any rogue website that chooses to operate a pirate broadcast of the live moves will be subject to legal action that is in line with our ongoing commitment to professionalise the commercial side of chess for the benefit of players and fans alike”.
Spectator and VIP tickets for the World Chess Championship Match are available at: http://www.ticketfly.com/venue/24715
Full details of the Championship Match are available at: http://nyc2016.fide.com/