Mastercard names world chess champion Magnus Carlsen global brand ambassador and announces partnership with Meltwater Champions Chess Tour as part of its Priceless Experiences launch for chess enthusiasts

September 21, 2021 | PURCHASE, NY

Mastercard announced today that it is naming Magnus Carlsen, the highest-rated chess player of all time, a Mastercard Global Brand Ambassador, as it adds chess to its coveted roster of sports sponsorships. Carlsen is a natural fit to join the company’s all-star lineup of ambassadors, which includes Lionel Messi, Naomi Osaka, Crystal Dunn and Dan Carter. As part of Mastercard’s commitment to bringing new and exciting Priceless Experiences to chess enthusiast cardholders, Mastercard is joining Meltwater Champions Chess Tour as an official partner, effective immediately. 

Together with Carlsen and the Tour, Mastercard is curating a wide range of Priceless experiences and exclusive cardholder benefits, via and upcoming promotions to help fans experience what they love about chess. Starting today, cardholders can register for the Chess Insights from World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen Experience. Fans will get to join Carlsen during a live, virtual experience, and listen to him speak about his passion for chess, with Carlsen answering select questions from the live audience throughout the digital experience. Those who attend the experience will also receive a one-month premium subscription to 

“Expanding the influence of the game of chess has always been close to my heart. To have Mastercard, which brings people and their passions together in meaningful ways, partner with the Tour is very exciting,” said Carlsen. “Chess has given me so many priceless experiences over the years, and I’m proud to join Mastercard to bring the sport forward to millions of fans around the world.”

Chess has grown and evolved significantly over the last 18 months. Online tournaments have also brought the popularity of chess to new heights. More than 27 million hours of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour have been watched so far in its inaugural season, already more than all hours watched of chess on Twitch in 2019 with the Tour Finals still remaining.   

“Mastercard strives to connect people with their passions,” said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, Mastercard. “Teaming up with Magnus, widely regarded as the best chess player of all time, and the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour underscores our enthusiastic commitment to provide cardholders with Priceless Experiences that celebrate the physical and mental sport of chess. We’re excited to bring the global chess base closer to the game they love and to engage with new enthusiasts.”  

“Having one of the most established brands in the sports world partner with us is an incredible moment not only for Magnus and the Tour, but for the global chess community,” said Andreas Thome, CEO of Play Magnus Group. “With the Tour we are proud that we have been able to build a platform for global brands like Mastercard to activate with chess.” 

Through this partnership, Mastercard will also create a chess-themed curriculum for its signature science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program, Girls4Tech™, continuing the brand’s commitment to promote gender equity and foster a future generation of female chess players. 

Carlsen, a four-time World Chess Champion, started playing chess at a young age and quickly amazed the world with his prodigious talent for the game. At 13, Carlsen became the youngest Grandmaster at the time. Since becoming Chess World Champion in 2013 and the highest-rated player in history in 2014, the Norwegian Grandmaster has stayed at the very top in classic, blitz and rapid chess. 

Over the past decade, Mastercard has developed one of the most well-rounded sports and entertainment portfolios globally. In 2018, Mastercard became the first global sponsor of League of Legends Esports in a multi-year partnership with Riot Games, signifying Mastercard’s support of the esports community. The sponsorship portfolio also includes partnerships across arts and culture, the culinary world, sports and music.   

Media Contacts

Macy Salama, Mastercard

Photo Press Kit

Image 1, Image 2, Image 3


About The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour (Euronext Growth: PMG)

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is the leading professional circuit in chess, determining the world’s best player over a full online season. In its inaugural 2021 season, the Tour shattered viewership records for professional chess and cemented itself as the most popular circuit in the chess calendar through innovations in broadcasting, fan experiences, and brand integrations. The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour is organized by Play Magnus Group, a global leader in the chess industry focused on providing premier digital experiences for millions of chess players and students. Play Magnus Group is listed on Euronext Growth Oslo under the ticker PMG., 

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.