Yesterday North American esports organisation Echo Fox announced it had signed some former pro players for its Challenger team.
Not just any players - former Team Dignitas heroes and current League of Legends personalities/streamers Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana, William “Scarra” Li, Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani and Danny “Shiphtur” Le.
They are joined by another huge League of Legends name, Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, the only one in the roster who didn't play for Dignitas.
Former analyst Mark “MarkZ” Zimmerman will serve as head analyst.
It's a surprise announcement and one that will no doubt entertain League fans when the split comes around.
As Echo Fox said in a statement: "The new players each have major brand recognition and followings from the gaming and livestreaming community. The combined social reach of the entire team (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch) is a staggering 7.8 million."
"A bunch of washedup former pros are going to come in and win the Challenger series for Echo Fox. We’re going to play hard but we’re going to have more fun than anyone else."
This 'Challenger Dream Team' is a genius marketing move from Echo Fox. The announcement has already created a lot of buzz, and will give Echo Fox a lot of positive PR during the split.
However, the Challenger Series (soon to become the Academy League, as part of the upcoming NA LCS franchising changes) has been a place for up and coming talent to test their mettle.
To have an older bunch of former pros in there will be fun but may make a bit of a mockery of what the Challenger Series/Academy League is all about.
Regardless, it's clear this is not a permanent arrangement but more of a marketing push.
Jace Hall, CEO of Echo Fox, said: "These guys have all those qualities along with the X factor of being exceptionally entertaining, proven by their massive experience with Twitch."
Echo Fox owner Rick Fox added: "As a former pro athlete, I know what it takes to compete at the highest level. You need hard work, a positive mind, and to be surrounded by an equally motivated team.
“You have to be in it to win it, and every one of these players has proved this time and time again, whether competing professionally or building their own brands and identities through livestreaming. These are tremendous athletes with tremendous identities, and we couldn’t be happier to have this dream team be a part of Echo Fox.”
Dyrus commented: "A bunch of washedup former pros are going to come in and win the Challenger series for Echo Fox. We’re going to play hard but we’re going to have more fun than anyone else."