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Gfinity shares jump as it names sports industry heavyweight Garry Cook executive chairman

Cook has previously been the president of Nike’s Jordan brand, chief executive of Premier League champions Manchester City and chief global brand officer at the UFC

esports arena
There’s a big overlap between ‘real’ sports and esports

Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN) shares jumped higher on Thursday following news the esports group has appointed heavy-hitting sports executive Garry Cook as its new executive chairman.

Cook was previously a non-executive director at the AIM-listed firm but will take over from Tony Collyer, who is to step down with immediate effect after a four-year stint as chairman.

READ: To Gfinity and beyond...

The British-born businessman has an impressive CV, having headed up Nike Inc’s (NYSE:NKE) Jordan brand, before moving on to become the chief executive of Premier League football club Manchester City.

More recently, he has held several high-profile roles at the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a mixed martial arts series which many have likened to esports in terms of its structure and growth potential.

Cook was chief global brand officer at the UFC until its sale for a reported US$4bn back in 2016.

US$1.65bn market by 2021

“I would like to thank Tony for leading the board in developing Gfinity to its current leading position within the esports industry,” said Cook in Thursday’s statement.

“There are many aspects of traditional sports that apply to the esports world. Some of the largest global sporting franchises are now engaging in this space and taking interest and participation to new levels.”

He added: “There are multiple opportunities for Gfinity in a rapidly developing sector, one that is forecast to grow to US$1.65bn globally by 2021.”

In early afternoon trading, Gfinity shares were 11.8% higher at 14.25p.

 -- Adds share price --

Quick facts: Gfinity PLC

Price: 1.65 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £7.91 m

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