Making it in Esports: Unicorns Of Love GmbH Owner, Jos Mallant On Owning an Esports Team
This article is part of Gamer One’s new Making it in Esports series which interviews top industry team owners to learn more about their journey and to share the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
The following is a recent interview we had with Jos Mallant, owner of Unicorns of Love GmBH
1. What was your journey like that eventually led to owning your own team?
JM: My son Fabian Sheepy” Mallant played League of Legends with some friends from throughout the EU and founded the team Unicorns of Love. When they climbed the ladder and got more well known they visited a LAN in UK. That was first time I was involved in esports myself. I organised and “pre-financed” their trip and organised PCs and Monitors bcs it was a BYOD tournament. Later that year they won the promotion for LCS and were invited to IEM San José by fan vote. Again I organised whole trip and flew with them. One of the rules to participate in the LCS is that organisation is a registered company. That is the reason I founded Unicorns of Love and became an owner.
2. What’s an average workday look like for you?
JM: Average workday is not much different than a normal company. Starting with working through emails and other administration duties before the not expected issues arise. The problem in esports is that most interaction with players, team managers, publishers and other esport partners starts late afternoon with open end in the early morning. Especially players/managers like to tell you about problems at 01.00 o´clock or beyond and expecting a fast response. But normal administration matters need mostly interaction with day time operating partners, so days can be very long.
3. What’s the most challenging part about owning your own team?
JM: I think the most challenging thing is to keep patient and flexible to get all organised according to laws and rules in a new business which likes to be chaotic and is very emotional. Still difficult to get hold on dates and times when teams are really playing and to get the correct links to the streams. Beside of that, I think the biggest problem for an org is that generating income is an extremely difficult task. Publishers are owning the Leagues, selling viewership to sponsors directly and opposite to for instance football, don´t share revenue.
That means that organisations having all game-related costs like player/coach salaries, gaming house, content creation and much more are in a constant battle for the sponsors with the same companies as publisher or league owners. Now mix this with a lot of companies burning just venture capital and you can understand the right challenge.
4. What advice would you have for aspiring professional gamers?
JM: My advice would be to keep in mind that esports is not an island independent from the “real” world. Contracts are binding to both sides and should be checked before. Hard work combined with talent will pay off 100% at the end, but you have to deliver or you can drop fast. And just because the top of the esport players get meanwhile horrendous payments, this does not mean you deserve as well. Keep being grounded, being a professional player means to act professional also outside the game. The career can be shorter or less successful as expected and in those cases a good solid education will help a lot. But beside that, go and try to make your dream come true!
5. What excites you most about the future of the esports industry?
JM: Esports will grow and be in a 10 to 15 year time THE cornerstone in the future entertainment business. Before that, I expect some rough years ahead similar to the DOT-com era. I am hyped that UOL will be one of the top brands developing and contributing to this future as we have proven the last 6 years.