Riot Games just gave Echo Fox seven extra days to resolve an internal ownership dispute.
The original 60-day deadline was set in view of Echo Fox owner and former NBA player Rick Fox planning to leave the organization over alleged racist remarks by shareholder Amit Raizada. Back then, Riot Games made it clear that hate speech will not be tolerated in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), urging Echo Fox to remove the shareholder in question. Otherwise, the league would have to penalize Echo Fox to the point of affecting the organization’s future in the LCS.
Now that the initial 60-day period has passed, the question is why did Echo Fox take so long to resolve this issue? And why is Riot seemingly willing to let this slide by extending the deadline?
The franchised partner
Echo Fox has played competitive League of Legends for over three and a half years. The organization enjoyed mixed results for the majority of its stay in the LCS. Yet its image was greatly enhanced by a charismatic owner and gifted communicator in Rick Fox, so much so that Echo Fox became one of the first organizations granted a permanent LCS slot once the league switched to the franchising model.
During this time, Rick Fox made several appearances on mainstream media outlets speaking on the behalf of esports and professional gamers. The idea of a well-known former NBA player acting as an ambassador for competitive gaming was an enticing one. It might be one of the reasons Riot Games is willing to give Echo Fox some leeway.
Rick Fox draws parallels between professional gamers and athletes on The View.
Of course, that’s only a part of the picture. In the franchising era, every LCS team is a league partner. They are working hand in hand with Riot Games to elevate competitive League of Legends to new heights. Thus, imposing penalties against any of them wouldn’t make a great impression on onlookers and potential investors. That’s especially true given that other LCS teams like OpTic Gaming and Clutch Gaming have already sold their slots to third parties.
The ticking clock
Another angle to consider is that ownership disputes aren’t easy to resolve. Removing a major shareholder from a company isn’t done overnight. And while there is an argument to be made for sticking to the initial 60-day deadline, sometimes an organization might need extra time to ensure a smooth transition.
It remains to be seen whether Riot will take action if Echo Fox doesn’t arrive at a decision this week. For now, though, the LCS team has several more days to work with. And it would be best for all the parties involved if Echo Fox used this time wisely.
Image courtesy of Riot Games.