The commercial rights for the World Chess Championship have been acquired by entrepreneur Andrew Paulson, who has begun a bid to turn the sport into an international entertainment.
Paulson has struck an exclusive deal with the president of the World Chess Federation Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to host the championships. Through this new venture, called World Chess, Paulson aims to bring the sport back to UK television screens for the first time since 1993.
Alongside TV coverage, interactive broadcasts through online, iPads and smartphones, and will also seek brand sponsorship for the sport.
Mobile activity, which will include the development of a range of apps, will aim to allow viewers to post live match commentary, monitor player’s heartbeats, track their eye movements over the board and predict their next move.
Design agency Pentagram has also been tasked with developing the branding for World Chess, as well as the creating the design for the purpose-built arena and cockpit for the matches (see image gallery).
Paulson commented: “We are looking for six global sponsors in non-competing sectors. Research undertaken by YouGov has shown that chess is more associated with intelligence, sophistication and strategy than any other major global sport.”
The first fixture within World Chess is scheduled to take place in London on March 2013 and will be followed by events in other major European cities, while the tournament will be hosted in North African and Middle Eastern cities in 2014. India and the Americas will then host the sport in 2015 and 2016 respectively, while the World Chess Championship will take place every two years.