But while Fox and his organization were ahead of the curve, others had joined the party in 2016. This included Fox’s old teammate Shaq, "I asked him do you know much about esports, he said, "Nah what is all this." And I said, "We should talk."
and go "I own a franchise" and I said, "I think it's something that would be worth your time, your effort, your energy, your focus." I was so thrown in the day to day of getting Echo Fox off the ground I think I slipped in following up with him And Andy Miller from the NRG got in there through the ownership of the Sacramento Kings which Shaq is a member in. And pulled him to that side. We'd gone from obviously great teammates to great rivals in esports."
"How soon and how quick it shifts." "Hey Rick Fox, you know me. NRG beat your team's ass the other day. And this, is the legend they call Sniffy."
"You suck. See this Ricky? This is what two legends look like. Rick, you and your team suck." 2016 had been an entry for Rick Fox, but none of his teams or players had found consistent competitive success. And in League of Legends, Fox’s investment faced a turning point.
An interview featuring Team SoloMid owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh about the risk that relegation posed to investment was the spark that lit a wildfire discussion about the profitability of League of Legends: partially because sweeping game changes can instantly affect a team’s chances. “But from an owner perspective and a player perspective, it's honestly really discouraging." "In order to make an easy example I would probably say it's like - You look at like the NBA right, where they go into like the NBA playoffs, it would be essentially changing the basketball- basketball's weight, and changing it into like shooting a bowling ball instead of a basketball. If the meta can change that quickly, then an owner’s ability to hold onto their NA LCS spot can change just as rapidly.
After a somewhat tone-deaf response from Riot co-founder Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill on Reddit so-called “LCS Forever” movement began. A letter to Riot from almost all of the EU and NA teams was published by Slingshot Esports in November 2016, and it detailed the teams’ demands for financial stability including an end to relegation. Every team with a spot in both the NA and EU LCS had a spot where they could sign the letter. Every team except Echo Fox. Another story claimed that the organization had attempted to poach a Phoenix1 player still under contract, and that the other NA LCS teams would refuse to scrim Echo Fox as a result. Riot later claimed that because the player’s contract hadn’t been updated in the internal roster tracker, that no harm had been committed.
Heading into Spring 2017, Echo Fox did indeed have trouble finding scrims in the NA LCS. And they would finish eighth in both the Spring and Summer splits after playing around with the idea of a 10-player roster. "We don’t really scrim LCS teams because they don’t want to scrim us It's definitely holding us back, I mean if we can't scrim the best competition it's harder for us to improve." But in April 2017, when theScore esports broke the news that franchising would come to the LCS in 2018, Fox made it clear that his organization was gunning for a spot. "Yeah I would say it's safe to say we're beyond interested.