AN esports team backed by David Beckham plans to sell shares on the open market in London in a bid to raise cash to attract new players.

Guild Esports, which focuses on computer games such as Counter Strike and Fortnite, has pencilled in a float on the London Stock Exchange this autumn.

The initial public offering will be the first for an esports franchise in London, Guild said on Wednesday.

It comes amid the growing popularity of watching computer and video games tournaments.

Last year around 443 million viewers tuned into esports games, and in 2017 one League of Legends championship attracted a peak audience of 106 million.

Former Manchester United and England star Beckham is a founding shareholder and is represented on the company's board.

It will help the retired footballer tap into a market which is projected to be worth more than one billion US dollars (£770 million) this year, and some 1.5 billion US dollars (£1.2 billion) in 2023, according to data from Newzoo and Statista.

Guild focuses on building esports teams to compete in major tournaments and wants to establish a training and scouting programme modelled around Premier League football clubs.

Glasgow-based broadcaster STV has won a further commission for its growing productions arm.

STV Studios is to produce a new factual series focused on how family farms, faced with rising overheads, disease, changing weather patterns and the impact of Covid-19, can be transformed into new businesses for Channel 5. Set in four “idyllic” UK locations, Our Family Rescue will see farmers given expert advice as they bid to take their operations into new directions. It will run over four hour-long episodes.

Craig Hunter, creative director of factual at STV Studios, said: “Farmers have been diversifying for generations, but it would seem there’s even more reason to transform their businesses and change direction now. We’ve been encouraged by the response we’ve had from farms of all different sizes and ages. There’s certainly no end to the list of opportunities available, which should make for a very compelling series.”

Unveiling its first-half results last week, STV said its productions arm had secured seven new commissions and four recommissions in the six months to June 30.

Fashion chain Quiz has said that around 15 of its stores are to remain closed permanently after a major restructuring.

It told investors that 48 of the 75 stores it operated prior to the pandemic have reopened, with it expecting to increase this to 60 sites in total.

The company also said that revenues plunged by 77 per cent to £13 million for the five months to August 31 after it was hammered by the coronavirus lockdown.