Quidditch, the sport of broomstick-riding boarding school wizards in Harry Potter, will become a “quadball” for people who play the game in real life, its leading organizations said Tuesday.
The bands cited financial hurdles imposed by Warner Bros., the series’ producer who owns the Quidditch trademark, as well as a desire to “distancing” JK Rowling, the books’ author, and what they called her.” against trans positions,” referring to her controversial statements about gender identity made in recent years.
“This is a bold move and I personally definitely have some nostalgia for the original name,” Alex Benepe, who helped found the real sport in 2005, said in a statement. “But in terms of long-term development, I am confident that this is a smart decision for the future, which will allow the sport to grow without limits.”
The road to a solution began in December when US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch, the youth and professional wing of the sport, announced their intention to select and register a new name. Their statement highlighted “sponsorship and broadcast opportunities” that were missed due to licensing issues.
In a 2017 interview with The Quidditch Post, a sports news site, Mr. Benepe praised Warner Bros. for “remarkable leniency” in allowing the league to operate and sell tickets under its own name.
However, he added that Warner Bros. banned the sale of merchandise that used the word “Quidditch” and that the sport was forced to sacrifice major business opportunities. Mr. Benepe at the time—until his latest political dispute with Ms. Rowling—was in favor of a name change.
“I love Harry Potter and always will, but if our sport needs Harry Potter to survive, it doesn’t have to be that great – and I think that’s great, and I think our players do too,” he said. .
However, on Tuesday the International Quidditch Association, the sport’s highest governing body, cited Ms Rowling’s “anti-trance stance” as the main motive for the sport’s name change.
“We tried to make it clear that there are two reasons,” Jack McGovern, U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch spokesman, said in an interview. “We didn’t intend to make a value judgment about which cause is more important than the other.”
Quidditch matches have often appeared as scenes in the Harry Potter books and films. The real-life version of the game includes many elements taken from Ms. Rowling’s imagination of the game: riding broomsticks, throwing balls through hoops, and having to dodge bludgers and eventually catch the Golden Snitch. In real life, the Bludger is a rubber bouncer, not a flying iron ball, and the Snitch is a tennis ball attached to a person, like in flag football.
According to the International Quidditch Association, the game is played by thousands of people in more than 40 countries.
After her comments on transgender issues on Twitter gained national attention, Ms. Rowling published an essay in 2020 expressing concern about “the push to undermine the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender” and the growing gender transition among young people.
Many transgender rights advocates have called Ms. Rowling’s comments transphobic, and some fans have struggled to reconcile their love of Harry Potter with their objections to her views. Rowling’s representatives at The Blair Partnership said they would not comment on the decision, but said the various Quidditch leagues were never endorsed or licensed by her.
“Quadball”, according to the International Quidditch Association, refers to the number of positions in a game (goaltender, hunter, beater and catcher) and the number of balls (two bludgers, a quaffle and a snitch).
Mr McGovern said that Quidditch’s association with Ms Rowling had become a barrier to recruiting new players, and he said he didn’t know how much the sport’s official bodies would refer to Harry Potter in the future.
According to him, his first exposure to Quidditch in real life was in 2010 when he was in high school. He persuaded one of his parents to take him from Philadelphia to New York to watch the Quidditch World Cup. He said that he was amazed by the “energy, vitality and forward momentum” of the game, and that he was “a fan of obscure sports in general”.
Almost retroactively, he added: “I was reading Harry Potter at the time. Asked to what extent his love of books motivated his early interest in the sport, Mr McGovern said: “It’s difficult. I don’t want to talk anymore now.”
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