Around the Web: NA LCS franchising, streamers unite on Echo Fox’s Challenger team and some fresh Dota 2 footwear

We all do it — constantly refreshing our Twitter feeds, trying to keep up with the inner workings of the online world, scrolling for that hot take or that juicy trash talk. But let’s be real: you don’t have time to read everything. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Every week we’ll be breaking down what you missed on social media this week, from the pop-offs to the pop culture.

This week saw some wild news out of North American League of Legends — wild enough to prompt not one but two emergency podcasts from our team — alongside the continued quiet advance of sneaker culture into esports.

With more big names than I can fit into a clickbait headline joining Echo Fox’s Challenger team, and the NA LCS abolishing relegation, there’s lots to talk about. But before I do, I’d like to give a special shoutout to one tweet I just did not have room for in the rest of this week’s piece.

Sure, North may have lost the finals of the ESL Pro League to G2. But this trash talk is on point.

NA LCS officially adopts franchising

The North American LCS will become a franchised league next spring, complete with revenue sharing and farm teams, according to Riot's announcement last week. The news confirms a previous report from theScore esports and is, simply put, really freakin' big.

Though we don't yet know which teams will be announced as permanent partners in a franchised league come November, social media was abuzz with speculation. Of particular note were the introduction of a players' association, the estimated cost of the spots (around $10-million) and the transformation of the Challenger league to a collection of Academy teams.

And then, of course, was the discussion of TSM. Think they’ll manage to sneak in a spot?

Let your dreams be teams

When rumors first began to circulate regarding Echo Fox’s apparent decision to scrim their Delta Fox Challenger team exclusively, many North American League analysts were puzzled.

But the confusion transitioned rapidly to full-blown chaos when Echo Fox revealed their new roster for Delta Fox.

The roster, comprised entirely of retired, former-LCS players including Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana and Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, is full of more star power, Twitch viewership and memes than any team in Challenger Series history.

Of course, not everyone had high hopes for the celebrity-fueled team, which boasts three mid laners, a top and an AD carry.

The truth is that we don’t really know how this team will do in the Challenger scene. We don’t even know what roles everyone will play. In an interview with theScore esports, Dyrus noted (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that “you may see one mid, 1 top and 3 mid laners that do jungle and roam together, we’re going to create a new meta.”

So while we don’t know much, I think it’s safe to say that, if nothing else, this will be fun to watch.

Epicentre, sneakers and one magical unicorn

It’s no secret that there are lots of people in esports with a fondness for footwear. But last week Epicenter, the Russian Dota tournament, took that to the next level, providing many of those attending with custom shoes.

Many members of the Dota community took to the internet to converse about the sweet sneakers, which boasted different designs based on heroes, along with names on the tongues. Players and community figures alike seemed very pleased with their gifts.

And though most attendees received shoes, alongside some other swag, the organizers also provided one guest with a little something extra.

I’m good for unicorn figurines, but I’m still waiting on my converse, Epicenter.

Sean Wetselaar is a supervising editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter where, sadly, you will not see any photos of custom shoes.

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