Echo Fox has had their permanent partnership application to the 2018 NA LCS accepted by Riot Games, according to sources close to the team and league.
Echo Fox is the latest revelation after ESPN's Jacob Wolf reported that six teams — Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, Cloud9, Team Liquid, OpTic, and a team owned by Golden State Warriors' co-owner Joe Lacob — are guaranteed entry into the NA LCS. Wolf also reported that four teams — Phoenix1, Team EnVy, Immortals and Dignitas — have been denied entry into the 2018 NA LCS, despite their various forms of financial strength.
As with other applicants, Echo Fox found out via phone call last week that they would be accepted into the new franchised league. The team will have to pay the league $5 million up front, with an additional $5 million over a period of time, which is $3 million less than outside applicants. The only publicly-known outside investment in Echo Fox is from former San Jose Sharks owner Stratton Sclavos, whose financial commitment and equity stake has not been publicly confirmed.
Echo Fox declined to comment for this story.
Of the remaining summer 2017 LCS teams, it is not yet clear whether FlyQuest have been accepted into the franchised league. FlyQuest entered the LCS in 2017 after purchasing the Cloud9 Challenger spot and player contracts for a combined $2.5 million USD.
Echo Fox, which is owned by former professional basketball player Rick Fox started in 2016 with an NA LCS team after purchasing a spot from Gravity Gaming, and has expanded into other esports, with Overwatch and Dota as notable exclusions.
The team has been the pressure point of some controversy as well, as they were absentees on a letter that was reportedly sent to Riot Games to address concerns related to revenue generation for LCS organizations. The team has never made playoffs in the NA LCS in its two year tenure.
Gabriel Zoltan-Johan is a news editor at theScore esports and the head analyst for the University of Toronto League of Legends team. His (public) musings can be found on his Twitter.