Rob Love took one look at the Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League and, well, loved it.
Within a week, he worked his way up from scout to assistant general manager to franchise owner — purchasing the Tornadoes from Machen Mathews for a record-setting $2,200 USD.
The 24-year-old from Metro Detroit — who works full time for EliteProspects.com and founded Fantalytica.tech as a tool for tracking fantasy prospects through analytics — started off by setting up a scouting agency on the UFF Sports platform under the same name as his tech start-up for cross-promotional purposes. Within 24 hours, his expertise was evident and Love was snatched up by Terry Webber to serve as assistant general manager and director of scouting for the Strong Island franchise that recently ranked No. 4 in the UFHL’s preseason Power Rankings.
Love was immediately entrusted with trade negotiations as a means of getting his feet wet and networking around the league. He was hooked from there, determined to become a franchise owner for full control and accomplishing the feat by week’s end with an offer that once again raised the bar on franchise values in the UFHL. The previous high had been $2,000 CAD ($1,568 USD), with three franchises selling in that range in recent months.
“I was sold on UFFS after speaking with (their staff and founders) over the course of a few days. The potential this platform has is undeniable, and after hearing all of the stories about people passing up on Uber, Starbucks, and other elite industry spearheads, I felt it was worth the investment,” said Love, the Manager of Monetization and Business Development for EliteProspects.com.
“After playing in a few deep fantasy hockey leagues over the past four years, I felt it was time to see what else was beyond the $50 buy-in, 50-player roster dynasty leagues,” added Love. “I resumed my hockey analytics start-up after a two-year hiatus and ironically found UFFS simultaneously.
“I’m just so excited to watch how the league unfolds — how the AHL, CHL, KHL and more leagues come into the platform. The possibilities are seriously endless,” he continued. “Other than wheeling and dealing assets, I look forward to developing relationships with everyone in the league.”
That process started with Webber, who gave Love a ringing endorsement following their brief partnership.
“Rob is the real deal,” Webber raved.
Now, Love will be overseeing the retooling of a Tornadoes franchise ranked No. 17 as of today — right in the middle of the pack among 31 franchises — with Russian forward Pavel Dorofeyev as their lone prospect on an otherwise empty 27-man protected list. Fantalytica.tech will certainly help on that front, with Dan Tinsman taking over their scouting agency to stock up on quality prospects, while Love will be trying to trade into contention over time.
“The roster needs a lot of work, top to bottom. We need elite talent,” Love said of an active roster led by Jonathan Toews and Brent Burns as current faces of the franchise, with the likes of Brock Nelson, Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar among a fairly deep supporting cast up front.
The overhaul won’t be limited to the roster, with a rebranding also in the works. That could include a new franchise name, now that the UFHL is allowing name changes over the next month before locking them in forever upon launching on the Zilliqa blockchain for the first full fantasy season. These early adopters are getting the opportunity to establish the league’s foundation as well as the league’s future.
“Along with a large rebuild, we’ll be rebranding to fit our brand. We want to have a uniform approach. Between Fantalytica the fantasy analytics brand, Fantalytica the scouting agency, and myself as the owner of this franchise, I felt it was necessary,” said Love, who is looking for the right name to replace the Tornadoes.
As for Fantalytica.tech, the future appears bright for this budding business that combines fantasy hockey and scouting. It is also a perfect fit for the UFF Sports platform and could become a go-to resource for the 40-plus scouts already scouring the hockey world for prospects of potential interest to UFHL franchises, among other leagues.
“We plan on first launching our product @Fantalytica, which allows scouts and dynasty fantasy players the resources to find diamonds in the rough and process thousands of player profiles to scout,” explained Love. “Once it’s launched, we’ll internally develop an incentive package to onboard new scouts, who will of course use Fantalytica to supplement their scouting. From there, we hope to build a lucrative portfolio of NHL hopefuls!”
2020-2021— Fantalytica (@fantalytica) December 8, 2020
Top performing prospects playing in Europe (in order of expected fantasy output over their first 2 NHL seasons)
Love has a playing background, having won an ACHA D3 national championship with Michigan State University in 2015. Yes, he has an EliteProspects.com profile under Robbie Love. And, yes, he is a diehard Red Wings fan, hailing from Detroit.
Worth noting, this Tornadoes franchise will be remaining in the United States, with former owner Machen Mathews residing in Texas. Mathews had a helping hand in the development of UFF Sports, from the tech side, but purchased a franchise as an investment that turned a 10-times profit in less than a year. He was one of the original owners last January — a group that got in for an average of $200 USD — but wasn’t a hockey guy and never had more than a passing interest in the fantasy gameplay, thus was willing to sell as soon as his asking price was met.
Turnover will be inevitable in the early years as the UFF Sports platform emerges as a leader in the fantasy industry for its unique appeal of digital asset ownership on the blockchain.
“Exciting times ahead — this is just the beginning of what’s to come,” said UFF Sports president and co-founder Tony Charanduk. “These franchise sale prices could look like small money a year from now, but it’s great to see those valuations already up tenfold from Day 1. It’s great to see the new owners showing that belief and confidence in what we’re building with UFF Sports. I’m confident and truly believe that they will profit tenfold in time too.”
The UFHL will be welcoming a 32nd franchise in 2021 — mirroring the Seattle expansion process in the NHL. That franchise auction will likely start in January and end in March on the same date that Seattle makes its final payment to officially join the NHL. The UFHL’s expansion draft will also take place on the same date as the NHL under the same rules, so that franchise promises to be in high demand with the newest owner getting the full expansion experience.
Worth noting, once UFF Sports and the UFHL transition to the Zilliqa blockchain this winter, the existing 31 franchises will all technically be for sale at all times. The current owners will be able to list their franchise for a set price on the sale block but outsiders will also be able to submit offers in the form of bids on any franchise at any time.
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