Esports Team Echo Fox Lays Off All 'League of Legends' Players Amid Financial Dispute

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The move comes shortly after co-founder Rick Fox clashed with venture partners over the sale of the organization's 'League of Legends' slot.

Following threats of legal action and a contentious back-and-forth between former NBA star Rick Fox and his Echo Fox venture partners over the sale of their slot in a major gaming competition, the esports organization has terminated the contracts of its current League of Legends players.

"Following the departure of Echo Fox from the LCS, we’ve had to take the unfortunate step of terminating our contracts with our current League of Legends players," Echo Fox said Friday in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "While each player contract is different, we are making sure to handle every case with the care necessary to ensure they are treated fairly in this time of transition."

Echo Fox's League of Legends team currently lists 14 players on its roster. Players on Echo Fox's other esports teams (which include rosters for games such as Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros., among others) are unaffected. While the exact salary details for each player are not public, League of Legends commissioner Chris Greeley revealed at the Gamesbeat Summit in Los Angeles in April that the league average is "somewhere north of $300,000." The league's minimum salary is $75,000.

"We will also be working to support [players] as they enter the next phase of their careers," Echo Fox said, "whether that be with another esports organization or whatever path they may choose."

The impetus for the current dispute between Fox and his partners stems from an incident earlier this year when the former NBA all-star said he would cut ties with the organization because of what he described as an "abhorrent" display of racism by a shareholder. (The shareholder is similarly accused of smearing ex-partners in an ongoing unrelated Missouri lawsuit.)

Riot Games LCS commissioner Chris Greeley announced an investigation into the incident, and ultimately Echo Fox decided to give up its slot in Riot's North American League of Legends Championship Series. Disputes over the sale followed, with the partners accusing Fox of tanking a deal to personally benefit himself. Fox calls the claims "outrageous" lies and says Riot approved of the bid. A Riot Games rep, meanwhile, told THR that "no bids were pre-approved."