When it comes to iconic global sports figures, few can compare with the legendary David Beckham. Although he’s not playing soccer any longer, he is among a number of retired professional athletes exploring the lucrative field of esports. However, as opposed to merely dabbling with competitive gaming, Becks is fully diving in, having officially co-founded an esports franchise that is making history as the first of its kind to list on the London Stock Exchange.
Beckham co-founded Guild Esports back in June of this year with teams competing in Rocket League, FIFA, Fortnite, and others. Inspired by what their website calls “the traditional sports academy model”—as seen in England’s Premier League football/soccer teams—Guild Esports is putting a particularly British twist on the fairly new concept of what an esports organization is and should look like. Given Beckham’s experience as one of the most iconic professional soccer players in the world, he’s well suited to aid in Guild Esports’ goal to “build a culture of excellence, not only with its team of professional athletes, but also around its brand and digital presence.”
In an article from CNN – Business, it was announced that earlier this month Guild Esports would go public and “float 40% of its shares next month and hopes to raise £20 million ($25.9 million).” In doing so, Guild Esports becomes the first “esports franchise to list on the London Stock Exchange.” Considering the company has only been around for about four months, this growth is impressive. And it seems as though it’s only getting started.
Along with Guild Esports competitive teams and their “academy model,” which is intended to serve as an “UK-based talent pipeline for esports athletes,” the company is also planning to launch a “lifestyle apparel line developed by renowned, London-based artist Fergus Purcell.” Purcell is an iconic artist and designer who’s collaborated with everyone from Vans to Marc Jacobs.
After David Beckham retired from playing pro soccer back in 2013, at the age of 38, he was already making big moves. From becoming a co-owner of the American MLS team Inter Miami CF, to working as an ambassador for the British television company, Sky Television, the fact that Becks had long achieved international superstar status seems to be more prologue than anything else.
Along with his extensive experience with sponsorships, his status as a fashion icon, and his social media savvy (he’s got 64.5 million followers on Instagram alone,) David Beckham brings just the sort of knowledge a new esports organization is going to need in order to—as Guild Esports executive chairman Carleton Curtis puts it—“fulfill its ambition to become one of the world’s top 10 esports franchises within three years.” In that case, with Becks as a co-owner, the forthcoming shareholders of Guild Esports are sure to have an exciting three years ahead of them.