The new World Chess Champion will be crowned in Astana, Kazakhstan in April/May | photo: Stev Bonhage, FIDE
Norwegian state broadcaster NRK has covered every minute of the World Championship matches since 2013, but they won't have a broadcast when Ding Liren and Ian Nepomniachtchi challenge for the title in Astana in April.
Norwegian chess fans have had the luxury of being able to watch professional TV coverage of every World Chess Championship for the last 10 years. The broadcast has been incredibly popular in Magnus Carlsen's home country, with more than a million viewers following the games at times — not too bad in a country with a population of only 5.4 million.
In 2017, NRK extended the deal with FIDE to secure broadcast rights for the World Championships until 2026. The deal included the World Rapid & Blitz and the World Fischer Random Championships.
However, with Carlsen abdicating his title, NRK have, for the first time, decided not to broadcast the match.
"Without Magnus, it doesn't have interest for the viewers," NRK's project manager Reidar Stjernen told Aftenposten, while pointing out that 2023 has also been a difficult year for the TV giant with 3200 employees in 50 offices around the country.
The decision means that NRK will have to be compensated by FIDE, as there is a clause in the contract in case Carlsen is not playing the match, Stjernen confirms to Aftenposten.
NRK will still, as they have since 2015, cover the World Rapid & Blitz Championship, an immensely popular event for viewers over Christmas. Carlsen also hasn't ruled out a return to the classical cycle in the future.
TV 2, the country's largest commercial TV channel, hold the rights to broadcast the Champions Chess Tour, while also covering Tata Steel Chess and other major events.
The match between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren will begin in Astana, Kazakhstan on April 9. Chess.com/chess24 will have extensive coverage of the event, with details yet to be announced. The match will also be broadcast on Russia's Match TV.