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9 Sep, 2020 13:21

Becks appeal: Football icon David Beckham's eSports team prepares for launch on London Stock Exchange

Becks appeal: Football icon David Beckham's eSports team prepares for launch on London Stock Exchange

The online gaming business backed by David Beckham is set to be valued at around $64 million when it floats on the London Stock Exchange, raising funds as part of a global masterplan partly inspired by Premier League clubs.

London-based Guild Esports has said it will use superstar Beckham's "global influence and following" to boost the growth of the company's "brand and business", galvanizing the enduring appeal of the former England midfielder, who has a vast fanbase.

Beckham's Instagram audience alone, which has amassed more than 64 million followers and frequently sees the former England midfielder endorsing products and partnerships, is of massive benefit to any company associated with the 45-year-old.

The eSports newcomers officially launched three months ago and are about to become the first company of their kind to float on the exchange in a move that will raise fresh funding to help them gain a foothold in the world of online gaming.

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Esports have surged in popularity while the sporting schedule has been heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Guild said it would use the money to recruit new players, invest in its brand and expand its activities.

Beckham is one of the founding shareholders and has a significant minority stake in the business, which will create a global franchise to compete in tournaments and build a training and scouting network modeled on Premier League clubs' talent academies.

That could take inspiration from Beckham's tutelage at Manchester United and lead to high-profile signings such as the deal that saw basketball great LeBron James's son, Bronny, sign for gaming giants FaZe Clan last week.

Guild raised more than $6 million in private funding earlier this summer and plans to launch with gamer favorites 'Fortnite', 'Counter-Strike: Global Offensive', 'Rocket League' and 'FIFA'.

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Carleton Curtis, the executive chairman of Guild and a former executive at the makers of hit game 'Call of Duty', said the group aimed to become one of the top ten eSports franchises in the world within three years and win "cache, credibility and capital" through the launch.

Beckham's pulling power and brand awareness are likely to offer a significant advantage to Guild under its revenue plans, which include sponsorship, merchandise and promotional tours and events.

The announcement continues a busy year for the former Champions League winner, including the launch of Inter Miami CF, the Major League Soccer team he created after buying an expansion franchise for around $25 million.

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