Unicorns of Love quickly won over the hearts of League of Legends fans when they debuted in the EU LCS back in 2015.
Their achievements so far are quite astonishing when you realise that they’re a family-run business which began by a Dad helping his son’s passion project.
Unicorns of Love quickly became fan favourites in the EU LCS due to their fun loving nature
Jos ‘UOLDad’ Mallant created the team so his son, current UoL coach Fabian ‘Sheepy’ Mallant, and his friends could compete in smaller tournaments. They wanted a name that would hurt twice as much if you lost to them and hence, Unicorns of Love were born.
UOLDad says they’re one of the few teams who don’t run at a loss but for them it was never about the money: ‘We created UoL purely to support my son and his passion, we’re an organisation that wants to have fun and have success, money isn’t the force which is driving us.
‘We are a a family-based start-up with low costs compared to others.’ he added, ‘my son is not getting the high salary. My daughter is running the shop from home. My son’s girlfriend of my son was studying for computer design. She made our logo and is doing all our artwork.’
Unicorns of Love are a family-run business created by Jos Mallant (left) for his son ‘Sheepy’
The team comes from humble beginnings but things became serious once Sheepy and his friends qualified for the EU LCS. They had no salaries or organisation behind them, but there was financial interest according to Mallant.
However, investors were only interested in the spot and not the players, all of whom were unproven at the professional level. Wanting to keep them together, Mallant took matters into his own hands, dipping into his own savings from years of working in research and development.
He quickly found out just how difficult and expensive it is to run an EU LCS team: ‘The first thing was to get a gaming house, which was difficult because most landlords were not interested in renting a house or an apartment to six young guys with the youngest being 17.
‘We had to buy six beds and six chairs and six desks to play at and cutlery and a washing machine and all that kind of stuff. I mean you had to buy a whole household for six people.
Mallant invested into the EU LCS team himself as others wouldn’t have kept the players
‘All of that and after four months we could have been relegated and it would have been all for nothing. It’s difficult to say how much I’ve invested over the years, having myself work as a CEO with no salary for four years helps. I think over the years I’ve probably spent around €150,000-200,000 (£131-174k).’
That’s a substantial investment but UoL will need a lot more in order to remain in the EU LCS next season once the league introduces ‘permanent partnerships’ – which will have a reported buy-in fee of $10m (£7.5m).
UoL will still be applying for a spot but either way, Mallant says they have no intention of quitting LoL: ‘We will go for the application and see how far we come if we can get enough investment money to afford to do so. If not, we will go play in a European league or something like that.
‘I think it’s difficult for everybody to get the money or the investments settle. The first deadline of the 1st of July. I think we need more time for that. Money is one thing but there are a lot of other components too. You have to prove that you know what you’re doing as an organisation, that you understand esports and the fans, that you can build a fan base, build a sponsorship and you can create content.’
UoL will apply for EU LCS permanent partnership but Mallant admits they’re short for time
It’s going to be an uphill battle for UoL but with their strong following and what they have managed to achieve through limited resources should certainly go in their favour.
Their LoL future could be in doubt but they haven’t got all of their eggs in one basket. Mallant is confident of the organisation’s future: ‘As an organisation we had to figure out what we wanted to do, did we just want to play League or do we want to go as an esports organisation?
We decided to go with the latter, with our name and brand I think we can do much more. We’ve started our FIFA team and we are thinking about other esports as well. Investing in CS:GO is expensive and shooters aren’t accepted by most German companies and sponsors. We are looking for what do next, which could be Hearthstone, Rocket League or something like that.’
The texts, information and opinions published in the space are the sole responsibility of the author. Therefore, they do not necessarily correspond to the E-Sports Plus’ point of view.
Os textos, informações e opiniões publicados neste espaço são de total responsabilidade do(a) autor(a). Logo, não correspondem, necessariamente, ao ponto de vista do E-Sports Plus.