International News Dec 18, 2021 1:18 PM EST

Harry Potter-inspired sport Quidditch pursues name change to distance itself from JK Rowling

"Additionally, the leagues are hoping a name change can help them continue to distance themselves from the works of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years."

Harry Potter-inspired sport Quidditch pursues name change to distance itself from JK Rowling
James Anthony Montreal QC

The US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch organizations have both started to look for new names, in an effort to distance themselves from JK Rowling, the author of the acclaimed books responsible for the birth of the sport.

The name "quidditch" itself was invented by Rowling, and the sport started its existence as a sport played by the wizard characters in her mega-famous Harry Potter series, before making the jump to real life in 2005.

Major League Quidditch commissioner Amanda Dallas said: "For the last year or so, both leagues have been quietly collecting research to prepare for the move and been in extensive discussions with each other and trademark lawyers regarding how we can work together to make the name change as seamless as possible."

Among many possible reasons for a name change, one reason looms large. According to the US Quidditch website, "the leagues are hoping a name change can help them continue to distance themselves from the works of  JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years."

"Our sport has developed a reputation as one of the most progressive sports in the world on gender equality and inclusivity, in part thanks to its gender maximum rule, which stipulates that a team may not have more than four players of the same gender on the field at a time," the Dec. 15 statement continues.

"I believe quidditch is at a turning point. We can continue the status quo and stay relatively small, or we can make big moves and really propel this sport forward into its next phase," stated Mary Kimball, the executive director for US Quidditch.

"Renaming the sport opens up so many more revenue opportunities for both organizations, which is crucial to expansion. Through joint ownership of this new trademark, USQ and MLQ will be able to pursue sponsorships, broadcasting on major TV networks and other projects that'll address some of the biggest barriers to playing the sport, like access to equipment," Kimball concludees.

Alex Benepe, one of the leaders who originally adapted the sport for real-life play, also commented, "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."

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