In 2017, Echo Fox was making moves. While continuing to rise up with their League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, they made waves in the fighting game community when they signed seven of the biggest names across the genre. These included Tokido (the best Street Fighter V player,) MKLeo (one of the best Super Smash Bros. for Wii U players, who would go on to become a world champion,) Sonicfox (the best all-around fighting game player in the world,) and Justin Wong, one of the greatest fighting game players of all-time, among many others. Almost overnight, Echo Fox was the team that would be in contention to bring home the most trophies across several games.
But by 2019, things had drastically changed; only four players remained on their fighting game roster, and as the year went on, more and more red flags popped up, from inactive websites and social media to players not wearing Echo Fox jerseys at tournaments. And on November 8th, 2019, it became official: Echo Fox was no more.
What happened to the team that, not even two years ago, seemed to be on top of the world? We’ll take a peek at a few reasons why Echo Fox fell apart so quickly.
What Happened To Echo Fox?
Echo Fox had a brand of personality in one of their owners, Rick Fox, a former NBA player and actor. Fox entered into the esports realm with two business partners, Khalid Jones and Amit Razaida. According to WIN.gg, Razaid and Jones each put up a million dollars to get Echo Fox off the ground, while Fox didn’t put up any of his own money. What Fox did provide, however, was good PR, a notable face for people outside the esports industry, and the ability to build a strong team that could produce results.
However, things began unravelling in April 2019, when Fox threatened to leave Echo Fox when he accused Razaida of making racist and threatening comments to him and his family. This prompted Riot to launch an investigation and give Echo Fox an ultimatum: remove Razaida from the company or be forced to sell their LCS slot. Echo Fox was unable to remove Razaida and several attempts to sell their LCS slot for their asking price fell through, which meant Riot eventually sold the slot to Evil Geniuses for a much cheaper price, severely damaging Echo Fox’s returns.
Things only got worse from there when in September 2019, several business partners filed a lawsuit against Rick Fox for repeatedly working against the company’s best interests. Fox has been successful in building a winning team in the fighting game community, but his leadership was full of financial woes, and pretty soon it became clear that the organization couldn’t afford their players anymore (the return on investment for signing so many heavy hitters has to be huge, and Echo Fox’s business model couldn’t sustain the roster long term, and by the time of the lawsuits, even their four player roster was too much demand.)
The house of cards was blown down when an investor told WIN.gg “There is no Echo Fox. It’s gone” and that all players and staff had their contracts terminated.
What’s Next For Echo Fox?
The investors of Echo Fox are still looking to stay in the industry, and the notion that Echo Fox could make a comeback isn’t out of the question. However, it’s recognized that it would mean rebuilding from the ground up, and at this point, the tainted image of Echo Fox would likely do more harm than good. Esports is certainly a volatile industry to navigate from a business end, and even titans such as Echo Fox can come tumbling down with bad relationships and poor business decisions. While individuals involved with the team, from owners to staff to players, will no doubt find their way, Echo Fox is dead and gone.