Chess Championship Match to be broadcast in VR


Press release: The World Chess Championship Match 2016 to become the first of any sport to be broadcast in 360-degree Virtual Reality

The World Chess Championship Match, to take place in New York in November of 2016, is to be broadcast live in 360-degree virtual reality, a global first for any sport.

The virtual reality broadcast of the match, which will take place between Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia, will be exclusively available through

“We are proud to announce that chess, one of the oldest sports in the world, is creating a global first — a totally new and immersive way of watching a contest that will captivate hundreds of millions of new and existing fans,” said Ilya Merenzon, the Chief Executive of World Chess by Agon Ltd, the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship.

World Chess has teamed up with Livestream to create the unprecedented viewer experience that will place the audience closer to the action than ever before.

(Image courtesy Agon Ltd.)
(Image courtesy Agon Ltd.)

As well as the 360-degree video stream there will be a number of other cameras within the players’ arena to provide multiple angles on the match.

The online broadcast will include commentary in multiple languages, with guest appearances from celebrity chess fans, a chess analysis engine so viewers can gain an insight into the players’ strategic decisions, as well as a host of other features.

“Everything we are doing is designed to enable viewers to get into the minds of the players,” said Merenzon. “This is the first Chess World Championship for the smartphone generation.”

(Image courtesy Agon Ltd.)
(Image courtesy Agon Ltd.)

Livestream, the leading provider of live video services, is the broadcasting partner of the Championship Match.

“We are excited to be the streaming partner for the World Chess Championship at a time when the broadcast and overall presentation of the game is being transformed by Agon,” said a spokesperson for Livestream.

Chess fans can sign up to receive the VR broadcast by registering at A season pass for the 12 round Championship Match will cost $15, or $1.25 per game. The pay-per-view model with advanced premium features, such as full 360-degree broadcast, is expected to significantly add to the commercial prospects of chess as a global sport and increase its
appeal to brand partners.

(Image courtesy Agon Ltd.)
(Image courtesy Agon Ltd.)

A basic free live broadcast of the Championship Match will also be available to view. It will include a live representation of the game and will be made available to select broadcasting partners and chess federations that agree to join the World Chess affiliate program.

“We are investing into the 360-degree broadcast because we believe that it is a major commercial opportunity for a sport which has required additional revenue streams to fulfill its global potential,” said Merenzon. “The millions of dollars in extra revenue that our new model will bring into the game will be re-invested in player prize money, events in the World
Chess Championship cycle and in grass roots initiatives. But we also want to ensure that as many people as possible can follow the Match and recognize that not everyone is prepared to pay to follow the Championship Match – that’s why we will offer a free broadcast as well.”

The 360-degree virtual reality broadcast will be available to view by anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer or VR device.

“In my opinion, chess has the potential to reach and engage a much broader audience than what we see today,” said Magnus Carlsen, the reigning World Champion. “To succeed with this, innovation, and most of all quality in the production and transmission, are key elements.”

The full information about the Championship Match broadcast and subscription options is available at

About FIDE

The World Chess Federation or Fédération Internationale des Echecs, (FIDE), is recognised by its members and the International Olympic Committee as the international federation in the domain of chess, the supreme body
responsible for the sport of chess and its Championships. FIDE has the sole rights to organize the World Chess Championships and the Chess Olympiads.

About Agon Limited

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 FIDE 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.

About Livestream

Livestream is the only comprehensive livestreaming solution, providing the streaming platform, hardware, studio software, best-in-class support, production services, and analytics to any person or organization with the desire to reach a global audience. Livestream is trusted by over 30,000 customers, from local communities to global brands, and streams over six
million events a year.