Tuesday December 5, 2023

Chess Boom

Macabe Brown-Courier Press via Imagn
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The popularity of Netflix’s new show “The Queen’s Gambit,” which focuses on fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon, is helping fuel the resurgence of the centuries-old board game.

The show has drawn more than 62 million viewers since its Oct. 23 debut, making it Netflix’s most-watched scripted limited series to date.

Chess’s New Queen:

  • Sales of chess sets in the U.S. have grown by 87% since the show’s premiere.
  • Books related to chess strategy have risen 603% over the same period.
  • Chess.com has seen daily user registration spikes of more than 30,000, compared to around 6,000 per day earlier in October.
  • A Beth Harmon bot on Chess.com is on pace to be played by more than 100,000 Americans this month.

Sales of chess sets had been relatively flat for the 13 weeks prior to the show’s release.

Pandemic effect: Chess became a popular streaming category early on in the pandemic, drawing more than 41.2 million hours watched on Twitch from March to August. U.S. sales of chess sets from eBay were already up 60% this year, but that number had more than tripled since “The Queen’s Gambit” premiered. 

The Small Screen Bump:

  • After “The Last Dance” premiered globally on April 20, average one-day sales for Chicago Bulls items on eBay spiked 5,156% over what they averaged at the beginning of April.
  • The Container Store saw a 17.8% bump in September sales after Netflix’s “Get organized with The Home Edit” featured its products.
  • The second season of “Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures” and film “Barbie Princess Adventure” influenced a sales spike in the doll aisle, according to NPD.
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