By this point in the evolution of eSports as a mainstream entertainment medium, it should no longer surprise fans when non-endemic companies of all sizes and profiles announce that they are entering the eSports scene by either buying or partnering up with a team. With that in mind, one of the biggest sports marketing agencies in Europe, Lagardère Sports, announced that they are dipping their toes into the eSports pond by partnering up with a League of Legends team, which is competing at the EU LCS, Unicorns of Love.
According to the official announcement on the Lagardère Sports website, “the leading global sports marketing agency is now the exclusive marketing partner of the Unicorns of Love (UoL). Lagardère Sports will support the League of Legends team primarily with sponsor acquisitions, product development and expansion of digital channels. In addition, the market leader will assist the UoL in the development and distribution of media rights, and work closely with the eSports team to develop further growth opportunities.”
Joining the Wild Wild West seems like a very good idea for a sports marketing agency. While it’s obviously different in terms of culture and common practices, the fact of the matter is that eSports and sports share the underlying principles of competing for a prize according to a game or challenge with a set of rules. Where sports fall short—reaching the millennial audience—eSports are quickly becoming the way to go, leading sports agencies that help teams do what they have to do to not only survive but make money as well consider eSports as a thing they should invest in.
“We are very happy to enter the eSports market by signing up with the Unicorns of Love,” said the Managing Director of Lagardère Sports Germany, Robert Müller von Vultejus. “We believe that the areas of traditional sport and eSports will ideally complement and benefit from each other. The Unicorns of Love stand out with their extravagant appearance, a strong and growing fanbase as well as their target group-accurate communication skills. We see great potential that the Unicorns of Love can become one of the leading brands in eSports.”
“We believe this partnership with Lagardère Sports will greatly establish Unicorns of Love as an organisation and take us to the next level. This is the start of a new area where well established classic sport sponsoring enters the very young eSports market. We are really excited about the next steps to come, 2017 will be pink!” said UoL’s CEO, Jos Mallant.
The sentiment expressed by Robert Müller about their role as a mediator between the traditional and the new is precisely the right mindset if this venture by Lagardère Sports are to be successful. Hopefully, they will be successful in achieving their stated goal to “ place eSports on the deserved stage of global sports next to football.”