David Beckham’s esports team is to float on the London Stock Exchange to raise tens of millions of pounds to fund its entry into the booming world of online gaming.
London-based Guild Esports, which was incorporated last September and officially launched three months ago, plans to raise £20m and a valuation of £50m.
Proceeds from the share placing will be used to recruit new players, invest in the Guild brand and expand the company’s activities, it said.
Guild Esports, which raised £5m of private funding earlier this summer, aims to create a global franchise to compete in major esports tournaments as well as a player training and scouting infrastructure modelled on the talent academies pioneered by Premier League football.
Beckham, a founding shareholder with a significant minority stake in the business, will also use his “global influence and following to support the development of the company’s brand and business”.
The company intends to field teams to compete in four global online games: Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League and Fifa.
“Guild will be the first esports franchise to join the London stock market,” said Carleton Curtis, the executive chairman of Guild. “It will provide us with the cache, credibility and capital to fulfil our ambition to become one of the world’s top 10 esports franchises within three years.”
The company said it intended to create revenue through tournament winnings, digital marketing opportunities, sponsorship, membership, merchandise and promotional tours and events.
“The growing global popularity of esports has enabled several existing franchises to monetise their activities through sponsorship, retail merchandising, apparel and product licensing, new media and mobile, broadcasting and tournaments,” said Curtis, a former executive at the Call of Duty maker, Activision Blizzard.