Play Magnus Group’s innovative Meltwater Champions Chess Tour has taken the world of digital sport by storm – and on Tuesday it was honoured by the sports establishment for this achievement.
The 2021 Tour, which offered the world’s first full season of elite online chess, was named one of this year’s Leaders in Sport as it won the prestigious Digital Entertainment Category at the Leaders Sports Awards.
As a winner, Play Magnus Group stands alongside true giants of sport such as the NBA, Wimbledon, Six Nations Rugby, the International Paralympic Committee and Arsenal FC.
The Tour beat entries in its category including EA Sports and Sheffield FC, Intel, La Liga and Verizon, and Vindex Esports Engine and Belong Gaming Arenas.
According to the judges, the award announced at London’s world-famous Natural History Museum is recognition for “taking a different approach to shaping the future of sport”.
Tour Director Arne Horvei said: “Our creation has been a two-year labour of love to elevate chess into the big league of sports and prove it can be full of drama and fun to watch for everybody. We have certainly achieved that and now we find ourselves honoured alongside the NBA and Wimbledon. We are delighted to get this recognition.”
Play Magnus Group’s Chief Business Development Officer Sebastian Kuhnert, who attended the ceremony, said: “This is an important moment for chess, a huge recognition that underlines how important the sport of chess has become. It’s also the tap on the shoulder that our team needed to take a moment and enjoy the part we have been allowed to play for the growth of chess. We are extremely grateful for this award by Leaders in Sport.”
Laura McQueen, Leader’s Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to have announced Meltwater Champions Chess Tour 2021 as the winner of the Digital Entertainment Category this year. This category has been carefully curated to recognise those making waves in the ever-growing Esports and Gaming industries – Play Magnus Group have embodied this with their winning nomination.
“The standard of work we receive across the Leaders Sports Awards continues to improve year on year, making it a great prestige to take home the spoils. Following a fantastic evening of celebration at the world-renowned Natural History Museum, myself and the entire Leaders Team would like to congratulate Play Magnus Group once again for their work and achievement.”
Play Magnus Group created the Tour from scratch as the world of sport closed down during the global covid pandemic in 2020. Since its launch in 2020, the Tour has gone from strength-to-strength and the 2022 Tour is breaking all records. The event is now by far the most-watched tournament in chess and is attracting new fans worldwide every day. The initial concept was to build an event that showed off all the drama and excitement of esports chess in the most accessible way possible.
The Tour brought high-production value to its broadcast, commentary that was entertaining and enlightening and the world’s best players competing for the richest prize fund ever seen in online chess.
Zubair Timol, VP of Global Culture at Meltwater, said: “As title sponsor, Meltwater is delighted and proud to have been a part of the Champions Chess Tour. This recognition is a reflection of our community-based and fan-centric approach, helping promote and build the sport of chess using data, strategy and social media. We congratulate Play Magnus Group and look forward to the continued growth of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour.”