Former England football captain David Beckham has announced his move into esports as co-owner of London-based start-up Guild Esports.
Guild said that it will launch player academies and run teams in various esports arenas including Rocket League, EA Sports, FIFA and Fortnite. Beckham said:
We have a vision to set a new standard, supporting these players into the future. We are committed to nurturing and encouraging youth talent through our academy systems and I am looking forward to helping our Guild Esports team grow.
Guild executive chairman Carleton Curtis said:
David will be instrumental in helping shape the coaching programme implemented at our academies and we welcome his valuable mentoring as well as the inspiration he gives the younger generation of athletes.
The Financial Times reported that Beckham was taking a significant minority stake in Guild through DB Ventures, his personal investment vehicle, and would be the second biggest shareholder.
It said Guild Esports was seeking a valuation of around £100 million.
Globally, the total esports audience will grow to 495 million people in 2020, a year-on-year growth of 11.7%, according to figures from Newzoo.
Global esports revenues will grow to $1.1 billion in 2020, a year-on-year growth of 15.7%, up from $950.6 million in 2019.
And with the current coronavirus pandemic decimating the sporting and events calendar, the popularity of esports has grown further. Traditional sports are using virtual simulations to engage with their fans.
We have seen a virtual Grand National, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won a virtual Grand Prix. FIFA launched the Stay and Play Cup, which involves players from 20 of Europe’s biggest football clubs.