A new esports franchise backed by ex-England footballer David Beckham today revealed plans to join the London stock market.
Guild Esports wants proceeds from the flotation to help it recruit new professional players as it looks to become one of the world’s top ten esports franchises.
Beckham, who is already co-owner of MLS team Inter Miami CF, has a significant minority stake as one of the company’s original founding shareholders.
The company, which is reportedly aiming for a valuation of £50 million, is looking to capitalise on a boom in the esports sector after lockdowns helped to attract new gamers and audiences grew due to traditional sporting fixtures being cancelled. The global market is projected to grow to 646 million viewers by 2023, from 443 million last year.
London-based Guild plans to establish its own esports teams to compete in major esports tournaments, with player training and scouting infrastructure similar to the talent academies set up by Premier League football teams.
It initially expects to field dedicated teams to compete in Fortnite, CS:Go, Rocket League and FIFA. Revenues will be generated through tournament winnings, digital marketing opportunities, sponsorship, membership, merchandise and promotional tours.
Beckham will also use his global influence to support the development of the company’s brand and business. Becoming the first esports franchise to join the London stock market will also provide “caché, credibility and capital”, according to the company.
It reportedly hopes to raise £20 million, with the intention of having 20 esports players by the end of 2021. There is currently one FIFA player and three Rocket League players.
Zeus Capital and Mirabaud Securities are acting as joint brokers and book runners on the IPO, which is due to take place in the autumn.