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Quidditch rebrands as quadball and further distances itself from Harry Potter author

The New York Titans and the Austin Outlaws face off during the 2021 regular Major League Quidditch season last June in Round Rock, Texas. The league and the sports governing bodies announced on Tuesday that the sport is rebranding as quadball.
Major League Quidditch
The New York Titans and the Austin Outlaws face off during the 2021 regular Major League Quidditch season last June in Round Rock, Texas. The league and the sports governing bodies announced on Tuesday that the sport is rebranding as quadball.

Fans of quidditch are now fans of quadball, the new name for the real-life sport that was first inspired by the Harry Potter book series.

U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch announced the name change on Tuesday as well as their own rebranding as U.S. Quadball and Major League Quadball. The groups announced their intention to find a new name for the sport in December, citing what they called anti-trans positions of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

In addition to distancing themselves from the author, organizers hope the name change will give the sport more opportunities to grow and not be inhibited by the trademark for "quidditch" being owned by Warner Bros.

"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," MLQ co-commissioner Amanda Dallas said in a statement. "We are now able to pursue the kinds of opportunities that our community has dreamed about for years."

Fans and players were polled as part of the name change process, MLQ said, with "quadball" receiving "strong support across demographic groups in the surveys."

The rules of the sport will remain the same, with four balls on the field and four different positions. Both of those are referenced in the new name.

The names of those positions and the balls will remain the same for now, but MLQ notes that both could change at a later date.

U.S. Quidditch has already adopted the name change and transitioned to U.S. Quadball. Both Major League Quidditch and the International Quidditch Association have said they are also going to make the name change upon completion of this year's final tournaments in July and August.
Loic Venance / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
U.S. Quidditch has already adopted the name change and transitioned to U.S. Quadball. Both Major League Quidditch and the International Quidditch Association have said they are also going to make the name change upon completion of this year's final tournaments in July and August.

The first quidditch match took place at Middlebury College in Vermont in 2005, where the game was created by Alex Benepe and Xander Manshel. Benepe called the name change a "bold move."

"For me personally there is definitely some nostalgia to the original name, but from a long term development perspective I feel confident this is a smart decision for the future that will allow the sport to grow without limits into its own unique space for many years to come," he said in a statement.

During the sport's initial years, many were drawn to it because of the connection with the blockbuster book and movie series, but since then it has become known as an intense, full-contact sport full of athleticism. It's now played in at least 40 countries with nearly 600 teams in existence.

While the inspiration for Harry Potter may remain a draw for some, MLQ media outreach coordinator Jack McGovern said it's important for the sport to remain welcoming to everyone.

"I think our leagues have always and still attract people from lots of different backgrounds. People who come to the sport because they are Harry Potter fans and people who come to the sport because they are looking for an outlet for athletics in their life," McGovern said. "The sport has also always drawn heavily from the LGBTQ+ community and maintaining a welcoming space for all of those people who might be interested in the sport is really important to us."

The change in name has already been adopted by USQ and MLQ will officially adopt the new name after the 2022 MLQ Championship on Aug. 20 to 22 in Howard County, Md.

The International Quidditch Association also plans to adopt the sports news name following the conclusion of the IQA European Games this weekend.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: July 19, 2022 at 9:00 PM MST
A previous photo caption misidentified the two teams playing quidditch as the New York Titans and the Austin Outlaws and incorrectly said they were playing last June. The teams were in fact the San Antonio Soldados and the Kansas City Stampede playing last July.