Let's put back any thoughts on Azmai for another day or two (he'll wait - he's a patient man) since the venue for the Candidates Tournament was announced yesterday, fitting in nicely with the FIDE World Cup that's in progress at the moment. Still no news on where the World Championship will be, mind, but at least we do know that Magnus Carlsen's challenger will be decided in March next year, and in Berlin. Which is nice.
Less nice, when you scroll down through the waffle in the press release, is this short paragraph.
First thing is, that's broadcast not broadcasted. Second thing is - what does this actually mean?
I'd like to think it meant "we are going to be sharing coverage with our good friends at Chess24 and Chessbomb". However, I don't think it does. I think if it did, Agon wouldn't be trying to charge fifteen bucks for their "advanced analytics" and "options to choose camera angles". I also think that if it did, the word "exclusively" wouldn't be appearing in that passage.
So what I have to assume for now is that while they may, or may not, invite other chess-broadcasting services to become their "media partners", the more likely plan is that they will try and stop everybody else from covering the event, one way or the other.
Now to my recollection they've already lost at least three court cases (one in the States, two in Russia) having achieved nothing except to piss off Chess24 to such an extent that they've stopped covering the Grand Prix. So having failed with the one way, i.e. the legal way, they may propose to persist with the other, which constitutes grinding everybody else down until they give up. Well, how they go about promoting their own asset is their affair, I guess, but it's a hell of a bad way to attract a mass audience for your world championship.
I say "world championship" because I don't suppose that they're going to do this for the Candidates and then not for the big one, are they? So here we are, enjoying this fantastically exciting World Cup, and I'm thinking. Palma, Berlin, the championship itself...
...after this, am I going to be watching any of it?
Because I'm sure I'm not going to be paying $15 for Agon's tenth-rate coverage. And I'm sure hardly anybody else will either.