Agon, the commercial venture that acquired the rights to the World Chess Championships earlier this year, has hired Chris King as commercial director.
Mr King, a co-founder of the executive search firm Sports Recruitment International, will lead the process of negotiating with a number of partners to host, sponsor and distribute the next World Chess Championships Cycle, which starts in London next March.
He will continue his board and advisory role at Sports Recruitment International, which he founded 11 years ago, to join Andrew Paulson’s Agon as of July. Prior to founding the company, Mr King worked at Badenoch & Clark, and was a sales and marketing director at online recruitment firm we2.net. His global network of contacts and relationships across the world will be invaluable in building a premium brand and working with best in class suppliers in every category the firm operates in.
Mr King said: “I’ve seen many opportunities in the sports and entertainment sector in the last 11 years but this was just too good an opportunity to pass up. I am enormously excited to work with Andrew and his focussed team to help establish World Chess as a commercial proposition that can and should be in the same commercial league as poker and golf, for example”.
Michael Squires chairman of Sports Recruitment Group, said: “Chris has put a tremendous amount of hard work into building Sports Recruitment International and will continue to remain as a key advisor to the firm and work with some key clients. We wish him every success with this exciting new opportunity".
Discussions are already underway between Agon and potential marketing partners in the technology, media, industrial and financial sectors and the market reaction has been extremely positive. The unique brand values attributed to World Chess coupled with the huge potential audience and greenfield site make this a rare opportunity for sponsors and partners to get involved at the start of a new chapter.
Notes to editors:
The World Chess Championships are the premier tournament for the world’s leading chess players. Each World Chess championship cycle takes two years, starting with the Candidates Tournament, to be hosted in London next March. The Candidates Tournament is a double round robin event between eight players, and the winner of the tournament will go on to play the reigning World Chess Champion, Vishy Anand, at the World Championship in November 2013. Following the Candidates Tournament in London, four Grand Prix tournaments will be hosted in Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Berlin, and the World Cup will be hosted in Tromso.
Agon, the enterprise set up by the media entrepreneur Andrew Paulson, acquired the rights to the World Chess Championships from the World Chess Federation (FIDE) earlier this year, after reaching an agreement with Kirsan Ilumzhinov, the president of FIDE, which will continue to supply the players and regulate the tournament.
Agon is negotiating six brand partners to sponsor the tournaments, which will allow the prize fund to be increased to 5.4 million euros. For the first time, coverage of the matches will exploit the interactive potential of online and mobile technology, with broadcast on smartphones, iPads and the internet supplementing the highlights coverage on global IPTV and satellite television networks.
The London design agency Pentagram has been hired to create the new branding for the championships, and to design a cockpit where the matches are played. There are an estimated 600 million chess players around the world, with enthusiasts including Sergey Brin, George Soros, Bill Gates and Mikhail Gorbachev.
For further information, please contact:
Harriet Dennys at Mission PR
Telephone: +44 (0)207 845 7800 or +(0)7979 692018
Jim Chaplin COO at Sports Recruitment Group