After investing $319,000 in Guild Esports back in June this year, David Beckham will be paid between $9 million and nearly $20 million over the next five years as part of a branding deal, giving Guild the right to use his likeness, face and name to market themselves. In fact, this deal was signed the month before Beckham’s investment, so in reality he probably just told them to keep the change.
Specifically, this deal was made between Footwork Productions, which Beckham owns and uses to license his image rights, and Guild Esports, the world’s second largest publicly-traded esport company. The investment has made the former football star their fourth-largest shareholder, though by far and away their most recognisable one. Even the initial investment was enormously publicised by both parties, which presumably helped out Guild enormously when the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange a few weeks ago and earned over $25 million, presumably increasing the value of Beckham’s investment even more.
One can’t help but wonder just what the play here is, having Beckham’s expensive beard all over your promotional material. Esports and normal sports might sound like natural allies, but the two cultures are very different, and I suspect that many gaming fans are secretly rather proud to have keep these worlds distinct; to be part of a unique group. I don’t think most of them will be bothered by his appearance, I just suspect they won’t care. It’d be like having Stephen Fry as the new face of Iceland frozen dinners.
Perhaps the plan is to try and drag regular sports fans over to the Esports side of things via Beckham’s star power, to lure a whole wave of footballers to gaming and get them invested with a familiar face. Whatever the end result, we know there’s definitely going to be one winner – David Beckham’s accountant.