Two US quidditch leagues are set to choose a new name for the “Harry Potter“-inspired sport, due to trademark issues and concerns over the “anti-trans positions” of the series’ author, J.K. Rowling.
US Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) have been researching a potential move for more than a year, and will carry out surveys in the next few months as part of the process of choosing a new name, according to a joint statement published December 15.
Real-life quidditch was first played in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, inspired by the game in which wizards and witches in the “Harry Potter” series fly around on broomsticks.
The name “quidditch” is trademarked by Warner Bros., and the leagues believe this has limited the expansion of the sport, citing sponsorship and broadcast opportunities in particular. Warner Bros, like CNN, is part of WarnerMedia.
Both leagues hope a new name “will allow for new and exciting developments,” according to the statement.
“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,” USQ Executive Director Mary Kimball said in the statement.
“Renaming the sport opens up so many more revenue opportunities for both organizations, which is crucial to expansion,” she added.
The leagues also hope the move will create more distance between themselves and the work of Rowling, “who has increasingly come under scrutiny for her anti-trans positions in recent years,” according to the statement.
The leagues say real-life quidditch is one of the world’s most progressive sports in terms of gender equality and inclusivity, thanks to policies such as the gender-maximum rule, which means each team can only have four players out of seven who identify as the same gender playing at the same time.
“Both organizations feel it is imperative to live up to this reputation in all aspects of their operations and believe this move is a step in that direction,” the statement reads.