David Beckham Announced as Co-Owner of Guild Esports

  • Guild Esports is part of Blue Star Capital’s esports portfolio
  • Beckham said he looks forward to helping the young esports athletes grow
  • Carleton Curtis, former Activision Blizzard exec, was brought on as executive chairman
  • With no traditional sports during pandemic lockdowns, esports’ popularity grew
David Beckham celebrating during a soccer match
London-based Guild Esports, co-owned by soccer star David Beckham, plans to debut in Rocket League, FIFA, and Fortnite competitions this fall. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Team will debut in the fall

London-based esports business Guild Esports, co-owned by soccer legend David Beckham, has announced its global launch. Guild’s first team will begin competition in the fall, starting with popular esports games such as Fortnite, EA Sports FIFA, and Rocket League.

it will use the “traditional academy” model of player development

In Thursday’s announcement, Guild said that it will use the “traditional academy” model of player development. Scouts will seek out esports athletes to sign to the team, who will in turn be coached to build up their skills.

In addition to Beckham, Guild brought industry veteran Carleton Curtis on board as executive chairman. Curtis was involved in developing both the Call of Duty and Overwatch Leagues at Activision Blizzard; he only just announced his departure from Activision Blizzard on Wednesday. Fergus Purcell, the graphic artist and designer behind the Palace skatewear label, has been tabbed to develop the Guild brand and “lifestyle apparel line”.

Beckham valuable for his mentorship

Derek Lew, chairman of Blue Star Capital, of whose esports portfolio Guild is a part, told Proactive that David Beckham is excited about “bringing his ability to help shape the coaching and the mentorship of the young esports athletes.” He added that Beckham’s involvement as a co-owner “solidifies” the crossover between traditional sports and esports.

at Guild we have a vision to set a new standard, supporting these players into the future”

Beckham himself said in Guild’s announcement: “I know that determination lives in our esports athletes today and at Guild 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.”

Carelton Curtis added: “David will be instrumental in helping shape the coaching program implemented at our academies and we welcome his valuable mentoring as well as the inspiration he gives the younger generation of athletes.”

Pandemic boosted stature of esports

While sports around the world were shut down this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, esports were still able to forge ahead, albeit with some hiccups. Early on during the mass lockdowns, most live esports competitions were canceled, but because of the nature of esports, many, like the Overwatch League, were able to return to action online.

Many traditional sports leagues began embracing esports as a way to stay connected to their fans. Though the NBA 2K League’s season was postponed, NBA players themselves participated in the NBA 2K Players Tournament. MLS and Premier League soccer players competed in FIFA 20 tourneys to benefit charity. Professional drivers also joined the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, racing against professional esports drivers in the most advanced racing sim on the market.

Rupert Svendsen-Cook, co-founder of London-based Veloce Sports, told Radio 1 Newsbeat that the pandemic and subsequent spotlight on the $1.1bn esports market “fast-tracked” his organization by a couple of years.

Esports were also just about the only thing anyone could place wagers on at online sportsbooks, and several states quickly authorized specific esports for wagering to help bolster their sports betting industries. League of Legends, Dota 2, Starcraft 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) are among the most popular esports on which to bet.

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