Melany M. July 31, 2019
Rick Fox opened up on the present and uncertain future of Echo Fox.
It has been a week since Riot Games announced the team is selling its LCS slot but the drama is far from over for the organization. In an interview with Richard Lewis, Fox shared new details about the issues that have been affecting the team over the last two years.
Most of these woes start and end with Amit Raizada, the Echo Fox shareholder who threatened Fox's family and used racial epithets towards him and another executive with the team.
According to Fox, the organization found itself in a precarious financial position in 2018. The repeated splashy signings across a number of different titles had resulted in a sizable debt for the organization, forcing Echo Fox to drop players.
Amit Raizada strengthens place in Echo Fox
Around that same time, Fox had begun attempting to get Raizada out of the team by "purchasing the controlling interest" back from him to "protect the brand," as well as other investors with the team.
After this happened, Fox states that Raizada acquired some of Echo Fox's debt and called it in, which he indicated was in violation of the terms of the initial buyout of his interest. Knowing the state of Echo Fox, he offered to convert the debt into senior preferred equity, which strengthened his place in the company. Desperate, Echo Fox agreed to the terms.
Two weeks later, the initial reports of Raizada's use of racist language against those within Echo Fox surfaced. This sparked an investigation into the incident by Riot Games, who demanded Raizada be ousted from the company under threat of losing their spot in the LCS.
With no LoL team, what is next for Echo Fox?
Fox implied that Raizada had minimal interest in separating himself from the company as his preferred equity guaranteed a return for him, regardless of the outcome. Raizada offered to transfer his share of the company to his brother-in-law, which Riot refused. The slot was ultimately acquired by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment for $30.25 million.
In a statement to Kotaku, Raizada pushed back against Fox's interview, denying that he is a racist and accusing Fox of mismanaging the team. Raizada also has a history of messy, litigious breakups with business partners and has been accused of racist language by others outside the Echo Fox organization.
The sale to Kroenke puts an end to Echo Fox’s history in League of Legends and perhaps to the team as a whole. With its time in LoL ending with the 2019 LCS Summer Split, the organization has very little going for it outside its recognizable brand and the presence of Fox himself. Despite everything, Raizada still owns a slice of what is left of Echo Fox.
Fox indicated that he will continue fighting to keep Echo Fox alive but the future for the brand is murky.