Guild Esports is to become the first e-sports team to join the London Stock Exchange this autumn.
The franchise’s founding shareholders include former England captain David Beckham, now co-owner of new MLS team Inter Miami CF.
The move comes as e–sports benefits from a rapidly growing fan base worldwide with some tournaments attracting a bigger audience than the Wimbledon tennis championships, Tour de France and the US Open.
The London-based company plans to create a leading global franchise by establishing its own e–sports teams to compete in major tournaments and a player training and scouting infrastructure modelled on the talent academies pioneered by Premier League football teams over many years.
Guild initially plans to set up and field dedicated teams to compete in four online games: Fortnite; CS:Go; Rocket League and FIFA.
It says Beckham will use his global influence and following to support the development of the company’s brand and business.
Carleton Curtis, executive chairman of Guild, said: “The growing global popularity of e-sports has enabled several existing franchises to monetise their activities through sponsorship, retail, merchandising, apparel & product licensing, new media & mobile, broadcasting and tournaments.
“Guild will be the first e-sports franchise to join the London stock market, which will provide us with the caché, credibility and capital to fulfil our ambition to become one of the world’s top 10 e-sports franchises within three years.”
The franchise intends to create revenue through tournament winnings, digital marketing opportunities, sponsorship, membership, merchandise and promotional tours/events.
It said proceeds from the share placing will be used to recruit new players, invest in the Guild brand and expand the company’s activities.