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Real Life 'Quidditch' Gets Rebranded As Leagues Move To Distance Themselves From JK Rowling

Real Life 'Quidditch' Gets Rebranded As Leagues Move To Distance Themselves From JK Rowling
Michael Matthey/picture alliance/Getty Images; Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images

Anyone who went to college in the early-to-mid 2000s will likely remember whispers of Quidditch on campus—small groups or teams forming, special events organized to play a round of the game after class, and even repurposing the acronym "BYOB" as "Bring Your Own Broom."

Those whispers grew from curiosity to campus-wide excitement. What began as a fun idea on a college campus in Vermont quickly grew to campuses all across the United States playing the game, some colleges even agreeing to compete.

Now, less than 20 years after being created by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe at Middlebury College, Quidditch has become an international sport involving more than 600 teams and over 40 countries, each team numbering 21 players.

Now, the international sport which includes US Quidditch, Major League Quidditch and the International Quidditch Association has decided to move in a new direction.

Quidditch was originally invented as the primary sport played by young witches and wizards in J.K. Rowling's world of Harry Potter. Much like the books, films and merchandise were popular, so was the concept of "Muggles"—nonmagical humans—being able to play the sport of their much-beloved characters.

Manshel and Benepe developed the concept of playing Quidditch on the ground while still maintaining the same fundamentals of the game. Players would run around on the field with brooms between their legs to emulate flight.

The names, rules and point values of the game were originally written by J.K. Rowling.

But the author's long history of racism, homophobia and more recent public declarations of transphobia make her persona non grata among people who don't support her bigotry. BIPOC called out the author's racism as early as the publication of the first few books, but mainstream media and the public largely ignored the issues with Rowling until she publicly, unapologetically declared her own bigotry.

So it's not surprising the now internationally successful sport wanted to distance itself from Rowling.

On Tuesday, July 19, US Quidditch announced they would be changing the name of the sport from "Quidditch" to "Quadball" in an effort to distance themselves from the author's ideologies but to also retain full rights to their sport.

The selection of the name "Quadball" was made to reflect the four quadrants of the Quidditch field, as well as the four balls that appear on the field at any point throughout the game.

US Quadball released a full statement detailing the sport's history and its two reasons for making the name change.

The first, of course, was J.K. Rowling.

"The governing bodies made the decision to pursue the name change for two reasons. First, J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions."
"LGBTQ+ advocacy groups like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, as well as the three lead actors in the Harry Potter film series, have criticized her stance."

The second was to have their full creative freedom.

"In addition, the sport inspired by Quidditch is looking to continue to grow like other sports that have sprung from humble origins. The game commonly known as 'Ultimate Frisbee' has officially changed its name to 'Ultimate,' in part because 'Frisbee' is a registered trademark of the Wham-O Toy Company that invented that piece of equipment."
"US Quadball and Major League Quadball will own the trademark for 'Quadball' in the United States. The trademark for 'Quidditch,' is owned by the Warner Bros. Film and Entertainment Company."
"Bringing full creative control of the name of our sport to the vibrant community of players and fans that has grown and sustained it will allow our organizations to take the next step. We are now able to pursue the kinds of opportunities that our community has dreamed about for years."

Fans of the sport were all for the name change.

After announcing the name change, follow-up tweets by Major League Quidditch, International Quidditch Association, and UK Quidditch confirmed that they, too, would be changing their names to "Quadball."

Though the rules of the game will not change, "Quidditch" will be fully changed to "Quadball" all across the world with the names of the player positions and the four balls used in game play to follow.