Quidditch Changes Its Name To Distance Itself From J.K. Rowling

The sport, based on a game in Rowling's "Harry Potter" books, will now be known as quadball.

Quidditch, the sport inspired by J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books, has changed its name to quadball.

“Today marks a monumental step in the history of our sport, and it marks an equally big step for Major League Quadball,” the league said in a news release Tuesday.

Two of the sport’s governing bodies, U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch, announced last year they were pursuing a name change for two reasons.

First, because the name quidditch was is trademarked by Warner Bros., it limited the sport’s expansion and its sponsorship and broadcast opportunities.

Second, the leagues hoped a name change could “help them continue to distance themselves from the works of J.K. Rowling,” who has come under scrutiny for anti-trans remarks 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,” they said at the 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 International Quidditch Association will also adopt the name change globally.

A game of quadball in Germany.
A game of quadball in Germany.
Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images

Rowling has repeatedly drawn backlash from fans, LGBTQ+ groups and allies and even the main stars of the “Harry Potter” film franchise over her comments about the trans community.

In June 2020, for instance, she wrote a lengthy blog post in which she questioned whether more people have come out as transgender because of a “contagion” influenced by social media. She also said she was concerned about the safety of women in bathrooms due to trans women.

Like the game in the “Harry Potter” books, quadball has four positions: chasers, beaters, keepers and seekers. Each game has two kinds of balls: a quaffle and three bludgers.

The sport includes elements from rugby, basketball and dodgeball, with six to seven players per team on the field at a time. There are three hoops of varying heights at each end of the pitch for scoring. Each player must be mounted on a broom when in play. Unlike in Rowling’s books, the players don’t fly.

The sport was first adapted by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe at Middlebury College in Vermont in 2005 and is now played by more than 600 teams in 40 countries.

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