Echo Fox has announced the signing of five popular former North American League Championship Series players and streamers to their Challenger team, igniting a frenzy of excitement from their fanbases. While many originally questioned the validity of the story, multiple sources have now confirmed the return of some of League of Legends most popular personalities. At first glance, the move may seem questionable, but digging deeper reveals a mutually beneficial arrangement that makes sense for both sides.
With the announcement of franchising in the NA LCS, this season’s North American Challenger Series season has become almost meaningless. With the application process for the permanent partner position already underway, the results of the Summer Split’s NA CS are of little consequence, especially for those teams already in the NA LCS.
With little to lose or gain from the Challenger Series, Echo Fox made the brilliant decision to replace their roster with a team full of streamers who would draw massive attention to their brand and attract new fans to their organization.
Their new Challenger Series lineup will include Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana, Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, William “Scarra” Li, Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, and Danny “Shiphtur” Le, coached by Mark “MarkZ” Zimmerman.
Each of the players enjoyed long careers playing or coaching in the NA LCS, but are now better known for their successful streaming careers. They have some of the largest Twitch fanbases in the entire League of Legends community, and a combined social reach of almost eight million fans across the streaming platform and all social media sites.
“You have to be in it to win it, and every one of these players has proved this time and time again, whether competing professionally or building their own brands and identities through live-streaming.”
“These are tremendous athletes with tremendous identities.”
Rick Fox, Echo Fox Owner
Before announcing their move to Echo Fox, former Team Dignitas star Scarra cohosted two separate talk shows, one with Imaqtpie and the other with MarkZ. Imaqtpie, Voyboy, and Dyrus are some of Twitch’s most viewed streamers.
It is estimated that Imaqtpie, who retired from Team Dignitas in October 2014, earns approximately $2 million a year through his Twitch channel alone, whilst Voyboy and Dyrus’ weight within the eSports community is so significant that Blizzard Entertainment recently brought them in to promote Heroes of the Storm in a charity event. Shiphtur has successfully forged a streaming and YouTube career, and MarkZ has become a popular analyst for Riot Games’ NA LCS broadcasts in addition to his reputation as an emerging content creator.
For the personalities who have signed with Echo Fox, the move makes perfect sense. Echo Fox will naturally be compensating them, providing additional earnings on top of their current profits, whilst providing the lineup with the opportunity to play in a competitive league as five every week.
The new Echo Fox Challenger team will likely not be an NA CS team in the traditional sense. D0 not expect these five streamers to be committing eight hours a day to scrimming or to all live within one gaming house. The main Echo Fox squad will also continue to scrim the five players from their former Delta Fox roster, not this new streamer team.
For Echo Fox’s new star studded lineup, this is a fun experience that lets them play semi-professionally once again. Many of the players will be forced into roles they do not normally play (they have three mid laners), which reinforces the idea that this team was not built seriously or with the intent of winning the NA CS. With the amount of money they make from streaming, it is likely there will be very little time taken away from their streams.
While at first glance this may seem like an odd occurrence, the signing of these five personalities by Echo Fox makes sense for both the organization and the streamers. Echo Fox loses nothing as they will still keep the players from their former Delta Fox roster, and both the streamers and Echo Fox will profit from the increased publicity.