After months of back and forth, Riot Games and Echo Fox have come to an agreement to terminate Echo Fox’s participation in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), Riot’s North American League of Legends league, the company announced on Wednesday morning. As part of the termination, Riot will find a buyer for the newly vacated LCS franchise spot, with a bulk of the sale going to Echo Fox.
This will be the first time that one of the LCS’s original franchises has left the league since franchising began. In 2017, Riot partnered with 10 esports organizations as permanent franchises that would participate in the LCS. Riot spent several months reviewing applications and determining which organizations would be a good fit for the league. The original LCS franchise spots were then sold to the select 10 organizations for $10 million each.
On Aug. 16, Riot will open up a 30-day application process for the open LCS spot. Organizations will apply for partnership within the LCS franchise system, much the same way the original LCS teams did back in 2017 when the franchise model was first established. After the application period, Riot will choose one of the organizations and will begin transitioning it into the LCS ahead of the 2020 season.
This agreement is the result of an investigation Riot carried out into Echo Fox in regards to alleged racist comments made by a member of Echo Fox’s ownership group. In a statement about the conclusion of the investigation, Riot said that “hate speech threats, and bigotry have no place in the LCS.” Following the investigation, Riot directed Echo Fox to take action to remove the member of the ownership group, or sell its spot in the LCS within 60 days of the investigation’s completion.
Echo Fox attempted to sell its spot in the league to Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (owners of the Overwatch League’s Los Angeles Gladiators), but the sale fell through. Because the team did not take action against the ownership group member or sell the team, Riot has stepped in.