Echo Fox announces expansion into Counter-Strike

Echo Fox owner and three-time NBA champion Rick Fox. Riot Games

Echo Fox on Tuesday announced an expansion into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with Mohamad "m0E" Assad and Sean "sgares" Gares leading the charge. The expansion into Counter-Strike comes just more than a month after Echo Fox's League of Legends branch was announced on Dec. 18.

Speaking to ESPN, Echo Fox owner Rick Fox, a former NBA player who won three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, said while the growth might appear rapid, this is simply part of the plan.

"My vision for Echo Fox has always been much larger than League of Legends," he said. "League is clearly a key component and a great starting point as the most played PC game in the world, but I am building what I intend to be the preeminent eSports empire.

"Given my desire to have one of the leading franchises in [Turner's] ELEAGUE, I have spent the past several months putting together the best team possible."

Joining m0E and Gares are Trey "tck" Martin, Armeen "a2z" Toussi and Ronnie "ryx" Bylicki. The team competed at the MLG Columbus 2016 - Americas Last Chance Qualifier on Saturday and Sunday as Torqued, wanting to hold off rebranding as Echo Fox. Torqued have already been invited to compete in ELEAGUE.

"The team we signed is led by some of the top players in the game," Fox said. "m0E is a household name in the CS:GO community and has over 500,000 followers on Twitch. sgares led his team to a first-place finish in the IBuyPower Cup last year and was rated as the best in-game leader in North America. I know these two, as well as the others, were all being courted by other top teams. We are excited to have them as part of the Echo Fox family and expect to do big things together."

To help execute on the expansion, Fox met with m0E at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month while scoping out the Counter-Strike event held by Turner. Over the course of their conversations, Fox said, he and m0E decided to build a team. He felt most comfortable with the CS:GO player.

Fox wants his players to understand they are professional athletes first and foremost, and he is looking to draw on his experience from professional sports to make Echo Fox a viable and attractive franchise.

"There were losing environments and winning environments," he said. "I know what they look like, I know what they smell like, and I know how to help individuals go to another level.

"That's what we're going to be about."

m0E echoed Fox's sentiment: "Today I am proud to announce that I have partnered with an organization that shares the same ideologies as me and is just as adamant about growing my personal brand as much as their own. I will be joining Echo Fox. This organization will make sure the team I built will have all the resources needed to succeed."