Guild Esports Agreed to Pay David Beckham $20 Million to Invest
David Beckham appears to have made out like a bandit in the Guild Esports IPO, in which his name and likeness were used widely to attract investors. According to a report from Esports Observer’s Tobais Seck, the company agreed to pay David Beckham to use his likeness, with a whopping sum of $20 million over five years.
This is quite a lot of money just to use his likeness, but it seems to have paid off as the company has been able to raise 20 million euros on the London Stock Exchange. They listed and became only the second pure-player esports organization in the world to be publicly traded. The only other esports organization in the world to be traded is Astralis Group, who own and operate teams across the LEC, CSGO and FIFA.
Beckham became a celebrity investor in the organization, but before he did that they entered into an influencer relationship with Footwork Productions, a Beckham owned company that was set up for (and this is a direct quote) “the exploitation of David Beckham’s name and image rights.”
He became the face of Guild Esports, with $19.78 million due during the course of the contract.
What Will Beckham Do for Guild Esports?
Beckham’s name, voice, biography, image, likeness, and signature will be used to advertise and promote Guild Esports for the five-year term. Additionally, Beckham has to complete one photoshoot, make one TV/video content shoot, make two public event appearances, and complete 12 social media posts about Guild annually.
All in all this is not much for the star athlete to do to secure the bag – for each of these engagements, Beckham will make $1.28 million.
Not only this, but that’s the least he can make. If the company is more successful than this, he gets an annual fee of 15% of all Guild’s merchandise and sponsorship revenue during the term. Each annual payment is due in advance the first made on the commencement of the deal. This means that Beckham’s small $347k investment made him back $2.59 million instantly.
Is This Inherently Wrong?
The esports industry seems split on this practice of a celebrity investor also being paid as an influencer for the organization. Many in the press especially have taken issue with Guild Esports because they’ve yet to announce their plans beyond competing in Rocket League.
However, there were some in the esports space who seemed at the very least unsurprised. This is an age where folks are paid hundreds of thousands for instagram posts, twitter posts, and general endorsements. While it may have a different coat of paint on it, they argue, this is no different if high-dollar value.
“Why is anyone confused about this Beckham thing?” Esports Engine CEO and MLG co-founder Adam Apicella said. “He put some money in and will receive a lot of money back to be an ambassador/face for the brand over 5 years. Honestly, with how much this industry pays influencers, this should not be a shock, and it’s not unjustified.”
Of course, some think that investors, especially celebrity ones, into esports should be those who actually believe in the space. Esports fans, in particular, are ones that crave authenticity and seeing that someone who is being hyped as the next great esports investor from the sports world was literally paid to say he believes it isn’t what the audience wants.
Regardless, Guild Esports made out quite well from their investment – it’s just down to how they want to use it, and if the knowledge that David Beckham is a paid spokesperson hurts them.