Kroenke Sports & Entertainment deal to acquire Echo Fox falls through

The deal that would see Kroenke Sports & Entertainment acquire Echo Fox's LCS slot fell apart after a lawsuit against the group by Sentinels CEO Robert Moore over a violation of a verbal joint venture agreement made between him and Josh Kroenke, pictured. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The deal that would see Kroenke Sports & Entertainment acquire Echo Fox's League of Legends Championship Series slot fell apart on Friday, according to a statement from the team.

"Due to circumstances unrelated to Echo Fox, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment was unable to meet Riot Games' requirements for acquiring Echo Fox's LCS slot. With that said, Echo Fox retains the slot," the statement said.

The future of the Echo Fox slot remains uncertain. The team is expected to assess its previous offers and work with Riot Games through a solution, one source said.

On July 23, the Kroenke group came to terms to pay $30.25 million for Echo Fox's slot, as first reported by ESPN. That agreement was later confirmed by Echo Fox co-founder and general partner (and three-time NBA champion) Rick Fox, in his podcast that week.

But that deal is now dead, sources said, after Sentinels co-founder and CEO Rob Moore filed suit against Kroenke Sports & Entertainment's esports arm on Aug. 1. The Kroenke group withdrew the agreement Friday afternoon.

In that suit, Moore claimed that the Kroenke group, among other disputes, violated a joint venture agreement with his company that would see the Sentinels involved in all of the Kroenke Sports & Entertainment esports ventures. Since late 2017, Moore and his company have operated Overwatch League team the Los Angeles Gladiators on behalf of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.

Prior to the Kroenke deal, other prospective buyers for the Echo Fox slot included one group led by Dick Clark Productions executive chairman Allen Shapiro, as well as Evil Geniuses and Complexity, sources said. Shapiro is a minority owner in aXiomatic, the parent company of Team Liquid. Disney, the parent company of ESPN, is also a shareholder in aXiomatic.

On May 15, Riot gave Echo Fox 60 days notice to remove co-founder Amit Raizada from their cap table after he used a racial slur toward business partner Jace Hall. That deadline was extended to July 22, after Riot declined a proposal from Echo Fox that would see a company owned by Raizada's brother-in-law take over his shares.

Echo Fox was founded in late 2015 by Fox, Raizada and New York-based investor Khalid Jones when the three acquired a League of Legends slot from Gravity Gaming for $1 million. The team has since added the likes of former San Jose Sharks owner Stratton Sclavos, the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Kevin Durant to their ownership group.