Guild Esports, the esports management company, backed by David Beckham, has slipped in early trading on its London Stock Exchange debut.

Its shares have dropped by around 10 per cent after initial gains.

The stock was trading at 7.5 pence at 9:44 a.m. in London today, Friday October 2, having opened up nearly 13% from its issue price of 8 pence.

The initial public offering valued the company at £41.2m (US$53.3m/€45.4m).

The float mark the first time esports fans in the UK are able to invest in teams of gamers on the public markets.

Former England and Manchester United legend Beckham has a 4.78 per cent stake in the company, a unique offering that manages the careers of professional video gamers. Other investors include Blue Star Capital and Toro Consulting.

In June, Guild said it had raised £20m (US$25.8m/€22m) on the strength of its proposed float and that the money would be used to recruit new players and expand into new virtual games.

The company currently has teams competing in football franchise FIFA and Rocket League, a car racing game.

Esports have been turbo-charged in response to the lock-downs, impositions and drags of coronavirus safety protocols on traditional gambling venues and sporting events.

The global esports market is now worth an estimated £870m (US$1.12b/€960), says games research company Newzoo.

Audience sizes, too, are growing; with some esports tourneys attracting more viewers than real-world sporting events such as Wimbledon.

The audience number for esports has quadrupled to 443 million people in the last seven years.

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