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World Chess Championship Match to receive VR treatment

World Chess by Agon, the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship, has agreed a partnership with live video services provider Livestream to broadcast November’s showpiece live in virtual reality.

The VR broadcast of the match, which will take place between Magnus Carlsen (pictured) of Norway and his challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia in New York from November 11-30, will be exclusively available through Worldchess.com.

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

World Chess by Agon said the online broadcast will include commentary in multiple languages, with guest appearances from celebrity chess fans, a chess analysis engine and a host of other features.

A season pass for the 12-round Championship Match will cost $15 (€13), or $1.25 per game. 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.

Ilya Merenzon, chief executive of World Chess by Agon, said: “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 fulfil its global potential. 

“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 recognise that not everyone is prepared to pay to follow the Championship Match – that’s why we will offer a free broadcast as well.”