“Echo Fox has submitted a proposal to sell its slot in the LCS to a new ownership group,” Riot Games announced Wednesday. The decision comes some days after the team failed to oust racist minority owner Ramit Aizada within the Riot-appointed deadline.
Originally, Echo Fox had until July 15 to oust Raizada at the order of Riot Games. On May 15, LCS commissioner Chris Greeley gave the org 60 days to solve the problem, after reports of Raizada’s use of racist language in company emails were reported by Dexerto.
60 days were not enough for Echo Fox, however, and on the deadline date of July 15, Greeley allowed for extra seven days. Later the same week, on Friday, July 19, ESPN further reported that the LCS planned to revoke Echo Fox’s slot if the org doesn’t find a solution by Monday.
By the looks of it, Echo Fox couldn’t find a way to both solve the Raizada issue and stay in the LCS and have therefore submitted a proposal that their slot be sold. And according to ESPN, an interested buyer has already emerged.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, a group that owns prominent sports teams like Arsenal, Colorado Avalanche, and Denver Nuggets and is also involved in esports through the Overwatch League franchise Los Angeles Gladiators, has agreed to acquire Echo Fox’s slot. ESPN sources report that KS&E will acquire it for $30.25M. The deal is pending Riot’s approval.
If Kroenke’s group does acquire Echo Fox’s slot, this would likely mean the return of the former Phoenix1 brand to the LCS, now known as Sentinels. In 2017, Phoenix1’s application for LCS partnership was rejected and, after rebranding to Sentinels, it took over operating Kroenke’s Los Angeles Gladiators OWL franchise.
“We’re working diligently to minimize disruption to Echo Fox players and staff for the 2019 season in partnership with the LCS Players’ Association,” Greeley told ESPN. “If LCS rejects the proposal, Echo Fox has agreed that LCS will be taking over the sale process for the slot. Our goal is to make sure we have an orderly transition and a new team ready for the 2020 season.”
The sale, and change of ownership and brand, could be a good fresh start for the current Echo Fox players. The team sits at 10th place in the LCS with 3-11 score and is unlikely to make the playoffs, needing to win all their four remaining matches against TSM, CLG, Team Liquid, and FlyQuest.