Riot Games has announced founding LCS franchise partner Echo Fox has confirmed a deal to sell its competition slot in the league, with aims to have the new owners take full control of branding and management of the team by 2020.
It appears Kroenke Sports & Entertainment are the new owners of the LCS franchise slot, according to ESPN. The holding company already has majority stakes in Premier League club Arsenal, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, and Overwatch League’s Los Angeles Gladiators.
The deal – believed to be over $30 million in total – comes after Echo Fox were given a seven-day extension to find a suitable buyer for their franchise slot. According to sources, brokers within Echo Fox spent the full seven days securing the slot sale.
The deal is now pending Riot Games’ approval. Riot have confirmed they are currently reviewing the terms of the sale, and are set to meet with the proposed ownership group.
Echo Fox has submitted a proposal to sell its slot in the LCS to a new ownership group. The LCS is reviewing the potential sale and will be meeting with the proposed ownership group in the coming days.
— lolesports (@lolesports) July 24, 2019
“Echo Fox submitted a proposal to sell its slot in the LCS to a new investment group. LCS is reviewing the sale and will be meeting with the proposed ownership group in the coming days,” LCS commissioner Chris Greeley said after the announcement.
“We’re working diligently to minimize disruption to Echo Fox players and staff for the 2019 season in partnership with the LCS Players’ Association. 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 $30.25 million sale brings to an end a multi-month long saga surrounding Echo Fox.
Riot Games first gave the organization – co-founded by former NBA superstar Rick Fox – 60 days to release minority owner Amit Raizada after he was accused of using racist language towards company producer Jace Hall, and other Echo Fox owners.
Riot’s ultimatum was clear: remove Raizada from his position, or lose their one-tenth franchise share of the LCS through sale, and receive an undetermined slice of that sale figure. Considering Echo Fox have paid only $5 million of their $10 million franchise fee to Riot, a portion of the sale would also go towards clearing that bill.
According to an ESPN report, the organization first looked to transfer Raizada’s ownership stake into a family-controlled entity. This plan was rejected by Riot, with the stipulation Raizada must be completely removed from the franchise. Echo Fox could not comply with those demands and moved forward with the sale to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
Echo Fox’s announced sale this week marks the third time this year a founding LCS organization has been sold.
Immortals purchased OpTic Gaming parent company Infinite Esports for more than $35 million, while Clutch Gaming is set to be rebranded to Dignitas after the former LCS organization purchased the Houston Rockets-owned slot for $20 million.