OpTic Gaming have come to a buyout agreement to acquire Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham from Echo Fox, sources close to the player and teams told ESPN. Akaadian will start for the new League Championship Series team in the 2018 season.
The transfer occured while Echo Fox looked to retool parts of its roster. Akaadian competed with the team throughout the 2017 season, where it took eighth in both the spring and summer splits. Akaadian's contract was set to end with Echo Fox at the conclusion of the 2018 season, but the team intended to find a new jungler and took interest in looking for a new home for Akaadian.
The signing comes after the team hired manager Romain Bigeard and head coach Thomas "Zaboutine" Si-Hassen, the core of their support staff, sources said. OpTic is currently exploring its options with both domestic and international talents as it works to complete its first ever League of Legends roster.
OpTic Gaming and Echo Fox were both accepted into the North American League of Legends Championship Series in October as two of the league's 10 permanent partners. Other new franchises include Houston Rockets-owned Clutch Gaming, Golden State Warriors-operated Golden Guardians and Cleveland Cavaliers-affiliated 100 Thieves.
OpTic sold its majority stake to Infinite Esports & Entertainment, a new investment group led by Texas Rangers co-owner Neil Leibman, over the summer. The multi-million dollar acquisition also landed the organization a spot in the Overwatch League, where it named its team the Houston Outlaws.
OpTic declined to comment.