If you are not a Harry Potter fan, you may think of the word “Quidditch” as being gibberish. However, the word actually refers to what was once a fictional game, first referenced in the Harry Potter novels, where witches and wizards ride around on flying broomsticks and try to catch “the Golden Snitch.” In 2005, fans of the series first began creating real-life versions of the sport, which now is played by more than 450 teams in over 30 countries. After author JK Rowling caused controversy with remarks on allowing trans women in women-only spaces, two U.S. teams are on a mission to create a new name for the league, in order to try and distance themselves from Rowling.
In a joint statement reported by The Times, US Quidditch (USQ) and Major League Quidditch (MLQ) stated, “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.” So far, USQ and MLQ have come up with Quickball, Quicker, Quidstrike, and Quadraball as alternative names. Their position is backed by QuidditchUK, the national governing body for the sport. Matt Bateman, the president of the UK-based league, agreed with the US leagues by saying, “We cannot continue to call ourselves Quidditch and be associated with JK Rowling while she continues to make damaging and hateful comments against the many transgender athletes, staff and volunteers who call this sporting community home.”
The new name will be finalized by USQ and MLQ after a series of surveys and rebranding commences in the next few months. Teams also believe the name change will be restorative for the sport. Warner Bros., the company that has owned control of the Harry Potter Intellectual Property (IP) since 1999, trademarked the word “Quidditch,” which made expansion of the game difficult for the league.