Endeavor Group Makes Investment in Chess.com

The site, which hosts 10 million games daily, also signed with Endeavor’s WME with eyes on projects like documentaries, celeb “moments”

A man in a white shirt leans on his arm as he plays chess against a man with a black shirt with his back to the camera.
The Chess.com Champions Chess Tour Finals 2023 is taking place now.

“The Queen’s Gambit” is soon going to have chess-playing company on screen.

Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Chess.com, the site said Thursday. The popular site also signed with Endeavor’s entertainment agency, WME.

“WME will work with Chess.com to build on the global popularity of chess across digital media, fashion, film, food, music, sports, television, and theater,” the company said.

The agency’s efforts “to amplify the game of chess” will include developing non-scripted content including documentaries, along with attempts to create celebrity-centric moments and crossover content to attract new audiences.

The goal is “fueling the game’s growth by elevating its profile in mainstream media,” said the company, which is led by co-founder and CEO Erik Allebest.

Chess.com, which was launched in 2005, hosts more than 10 million games daily among more than 150 registered users. The number of active users more than doubled since the pandemic, helped by lockdown boredom as well as “The Queen’s Gambit” sparking a new interest in the game.

The company noted that the ancient strategy game’s popularity is growing across all age groups.

Last year, Chess.com announced a “major investment” from private equity firm General Atlantic, which previously backed Snap, Slack, TikTok, AirBnB and a host of other startups. As with the Endeavor infusion, the company did not disclose the amount General Atlantic invested.

Endeavor’s strategy of investing in trending businesses has created a sprawling sports and entertainment conglomerate with a range of genres built on top of WME, one of the business’ top representation agencies. Most notably this year, Endeavor led the combination of its UFC with WWE to create the TKO Group in September, which Emanuel also leads.

“Chess.com’s unique community, content, and competition is a driving force behind chess’ increasing popularity,” Emanuel said in a statement. “We are excited to help further expand their reach and bring more fans to the game via content development, brand partnerships, events, premium experiences, media rights, and licensing opportunities.”

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