The North American esports organizations Echo Fox is looking to sell its League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) franchise slot. This news came to light on the official LoL esports Twitter account. League of Legends publisher and LCS owner Riot Games is currently reviewing the sale and setting up meetings with potential ownership groups.
How did this happen and what does this mean for the future of LoL esports?
It’s not a stretch to say no one expected Echo Fox to go out like this. When Dexerto first reported on the racist language used by company shareholder Amit Raizada, most thought this scandal would be resolved internally. However, it quickly became apparent Echo Fox was unable to deal with this issue on its own. This caused Riot to step in and issue an ultimatum for Echo Fox to remove said shareholder by July 22.
Echo Fox failed to comply.
According to an ESPN report by Jacob Wolf, the organization tried to transfer Raizada’s equity to a company operated by one of his family members, but Riot Games shut down this attempt. Now, Echo Fox finds itself having to exit the League of Legends scene altogether. To make matters worse, the organization has paid only half of the initial $10 million franchise fee. It must pay the remaining $5 million in the coming years.
Fortunately for Echo Fox, there already seems to be a buyer for its slot. Judging by another ESPN report, the owner of Arsenal, the Denver Nuggets, and the Los Angeles Gladiators—Kroenke Sports & Entertainment—has expressed interest in purchasing the slot for a total of $30.25 million.
The deal is still pending approval, but it’s safe to say Riot Games will heavily consider an offer from such a promising partner.
Cause and effect
This isn’t the first time a newly-franchised LCS organization chose to take a step back from League of Legends. Recently, the Houston Rockets-owned Clutch Gaming sold the majority of its stake to Dignitas. Then, OpTic Gaming was bought out by Immortals Gaming Club.
Competitive League of Legends is often considered one of the most stable esports out there, but the fact that multiple franchised partners are moving away from the game puts this line of thinking into doubt. Granted, each organization had its own reasons for making this call. But Riot Games will still have to find a way to reaffirm the stability of LoL esports.
Image courtesy of Riot Games.