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Quidditch, a real sport inspired by “Harry Potter” movies, moves to change its name over concerns with J.K. Rowling

Story at a glance

  • Quidditch is a sport inspired by the “Harry Potter” book series and was developed into a real-life sport in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont.
  • The U.S. Quidditch league announced it would be changing the sport’s name.
  • The name change comes as the league faces trademark barriers from Warner Bros. and wants to distance itself from “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling.

Quidditch is more widely known as the sport played by fictional character Harry Potter, but the sport has evolved into the real world and now its official league announced a huge shift away from its creator.

 

The U.S. Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) organizations announced this week that they have begun the process of picking a new name after conducting a series of surveys over the last few months to inform their decision. 

Real-life quidditch was adapted from the “Harry Potter” book series in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe. The sport has encountered limitations because the name is trademarked by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The name change is also fueled by the league attempting to distance itself from the works of J.K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter book series. She has previously come under criticism for her anti-trans positions which led some to label her as a “TERF,” or transgender-exclusionary radical feminist.


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USQ states that its sport has developed a reputation as, “one of the most progressive sports in the world on gender equality and inclusivity.”

The controversies with Rowling on top of trademark issues has prevented the quidditch league from expanding, which MSQ described as including but not limited to sponsorship and broadcast opportunities. 

Both USQ and MLQ hope a new name change will allow for development for players, fans and volunteers of the sport.

“I’m thrilled that USQ and MLQ are moving in this direction. Big changes like this don’t come without risk, but I’ve been a strong advocate for making this move for a long time. The sport needs its own space without limits on its growth potential and changing the name is crucial to achieving that,” Benepe said.

According to USQ, an average of 3,500 athletes and 150 teams each session nationwide participate in quidditch and it’s played in over 39 countries. It’s a fast-paced, contact sport where each player must keep a broom between their legs at all times. Points are scored by throwing a volleyball (known as the “quaffle”) through any of three hoops fixed at either end of the field, while dodgeballs (known as “bludgers”) are used to “knock out” players temporarily. 

The “snitch,” known as the small, golden colored sphere with wings in the “Harry Potter” series, must be caught to end the game.

USQ said it plans to complete the process of surveying stakeholders in the sport as it pertains to renaming itself by the end of January. 


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