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- Riot Games will handle the process of selling Echo Fox’s League of Legends Championship Series slot for the 2020 season and beyond.
- The league will hold an expedited 30-day application process starting on August 16.
- A report claims that Echo Fox had a pair of offers after a proposed deal with Kroenke Sports and Entertainment fell through. One offer was from Evil Geniuses owner PEAK6.
Echo Fox’s proposed deal to sell its League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) franchise slot to Kroenke Sports and Entertainment could not be completed, and as such, Riot Games will now handle the sale of the slot for the 2020 season.
On Friday, Echo Fox issued the following statement: “Due to circumstances unrelated to Echo Fox, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment was unable to meet Riot Games’ requirements for acquiring Echo Fox’s LCS slot. With that said, Echo Fox retains the slot.”
According to a report from SportsPro, the lawsuit filed by Sentinels CEO Ron Moore earlier this month helped derail Kroenke’s bid for the LCS franchise spot. Moore, whose Sentinels organization operates Kroenke’s Los Angeles Gladiators team in the Overwatch League, alleged that Kroenke’s LCS pursuit violated a verbal agreement with him regarding their joint esports efforts.
Today, LCS commissioner Chris Greeley issued an update via the League of Legends website, noting that the “sale did not come to fruition.” It also said that Riot Games and Echo Fox formally agreed to a deal yesterday for the organization to exit the league, with Riot Games to now direct the process of selling the franchise spot. In July, Greeley said that Echo Fox had agreed to that stipulation should the proposed sale to Kroenke not go through.
On August 16, Riot Games will open a 30-day application process to find a new partner to take over the Echo Fox spot in the LCS, with “the bulk of the proceeds” going to Echo Fox.
“We’ll be using an expedited process similar to the 2017 system that we used to select our initial long-term partners,” wrote Greeley in today’s update. “We will focus on evaluating each applicant’s ownership profile, brand strategy, business plan, and team operational plan. Our goal remains to have an orderly transition as we add a new LCS team ahead of the 2020 season.”
On Wednesday afternoon Echo Fox issued a statement supporting Riot Games’ plan for the sale of the slot:
“The Echo Fox organization is proud to have worked so closely with Riot Games and the LCS these past few years, we made the decision to consent to the Riot process as it would allow a fair outcome for all parties involved. However, in addition to our support for our LCS team, we have long shown our commitment to growing and nurturing our teams in fighting games and battle royale games, and will continue to seek out and participate in the ever-expanding universe of esports competitions — both domestic and international. We would like to thank Riot and Chris Greeley in helping us through this transition.“
Echo Fox’s exit from the LCS comes following months of public drama surrounding the team. In April, leaked emails suggested that founder Rick Fox planned to leave the organization following alleged racist remarks from a shareholder, who was later revealed to be Amit Raizada. Riot Games completed its own investigation of the situation, and gave Echo Fox 60 days to “take corrective action” against the offending shareholder. The team was unable to remove Raizada, and thus was forced to sell its LCS spot.
According to a report from Upcomer published earlier today, an email chain obtained by the site showed that Echo Fox shareholders were considering two new prospective buyers for its LCS slot: Evil Geniuses owner PEAK6 and The Shapiro Group. The report suggests that a majority of shareholders favored the PEAK6 offer, which was for $31.5M USD in cash to be paid within 30 days of closing. Details were not available for The Shapiro Group’s offer.
“The holders of a substantial majority of the limited partnership interests in Echo Fox have made it clear that they favor the Evil Geniuses offer, and do not and will not agree to the competing offer from MMIPH (a.k.a. The Shapiro Group) based upon its present terms and conditions—specifically the condition requiring the ‘absence of pending or threatened claims by EF equity holders against EF or purchasers,’” reads part of an email from the chain. Upcomer did not attribute the quote.
According to the email chain, an emergency conference call was held with the holders of 83.3% of the limited partners’ interest in Echo Fox, and that they approve the PEAK6 offer. They will reportedly also demand Fox’s resignation as the team’s general partner.
Given Riot Games’ statement today, however, it seems that any interested parties will now have to go through the company’s application process to be considered for the open LCS spot. In addition to Evil Geniuses and The Shapiro Group, SportsPro notes that Complexity Gaming also attempted to acquire Echo Fox’s LCS franchise spot.