T1 Sports & Entertainment announced Wednesday the signing of Leonardo "MkLeo" Lopez Perez, the winningest player in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
MkLeo joins T1 after he parted ways with Echo Fox, which dissolved in November following legal and financial troubles and the sale of its League of Legends Championship Series slot to Evil Geniuses. MkLeo is the second Super Smash Bros. player on the T1 roster, alongside Jason "ANTi" Bates, a fellow pro Ultimate player and popular social media influencer.
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"I'm beyond excited for 'MkLeo' to join T1 as he will continue to strengthen our North American presence and reinforce T1's commitment to the fighting game community," T1 CEO Joe Marsh said in a news release. "I'm confident he will be able to continue his legacy as one of the greatest of all time as he looks to make his mark in T1 for years to come."
Mexico-born MkLeo won his first American Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament in December 2016 in Las Vegas and since has become the game's most successful active player. At that event, 2GGT: ZeRo Saga, MkLeo took down Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios, Smash for Wii U's winningest player.
With ZeRo's retirement in January 2018 and the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in December 2018, MkLeo has continued to dominate tournaments across the world, earning himself a No. 1 ranking for multiple years in a row in Smash for Wii U and Ultimate. MkLeo became Ultimate's first Evolution Championship Series champion in August, defeating Gavin "Tweek" Dempsey in a thrilling grand final in Las Vegas.
In October, Comcast Spectacor -- the sports arm of the American media and telecommunications giant Comcast and owners of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and Overwatch League's Fusion -- started a joint venture with South Korean corporation SK Telecom. Together, the two companies formed T1, rebranding the SK Telecom T1 esports brand and expanding their reach outside of South Korea.
SK Telecom T1 have achieved significant success across multiple esports titles, but most famously in League of Legends, where SKT has won three world championships. In February, the team announced that franchise icon Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok -- who led those three teams to world titles -- would become a part owner of the T1 Entertainment & Sports entity as a part of a three-year contract renewal.
Spectacor first entered esports by agreeing to pay $20 million to enter the Overwatch League in its inaugural season and founding that league's Philadelphia franchise. Spectacor has continued to invest in esports through infrastructure and tournament organizing company Nerd Street Gamers and others, and in September, Spectacor broke ground on a $50 million, esports-focused arena in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. The Overwatch League hosted last season's final at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, which is adjacent to the new Fusion Arena and is also owned by Spectacor.