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Kroenke closes in on League of Legends team slot

Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) is closing in on a deal to acquire a slot in esports’ League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), according to ESPN.

KSE – which was founded by Stan Kroenke and owns English Premier League club Arsenal, the NBA basketball league’s Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche NHL ice hockey team – has reportedly agreed to pay $30.25m (£23.8m/€26.7m) for Echo Fox’s place in the championship.

The news has emerged just days after Echo Fox submitted a proposal to sell its slot to a new investment group. The championship’s commissioner, Chris Greeley, said that the series is reviewing the transaction and will be meeting the proposed potential new owners “in the coming days”.

“We’re working diligently to minimise disruption to Echo Fox players and staff for the 2019 season in partnership with the LCS Players’ Association,” Greeley said. “If LCS rejects the proposal, Echo Fox has agreed that LCS will be taking over the sale process for the slot. Our goal is to make sure we have an orderly transition and a new team ready for the 2020 season.”

Any new owners would have to be approved by League of Legends developer Riot Games.

According to reports, Echo Fox has already paid Riot Games $5m of the $10m franchise fee to compete in the league, with the remainder due over the coming years.

The proposed deal would represent KSE’s second major investment in esports, with the company having paid $20m to enter the Overwatch League in 2017. KSE went on to establish the Gladiators, the second Los Angeles-based Overwatch League team.