Quidditch is changing its name to quadball to cut ties with J.K. Rowling

Jul 20, 2022, 11:51 AM
The San Antonio Soldados and New Orleans Curse play a game of quidditch, which will now be known as...
The San Antonio Soldados and New Orleans Curse play a game of quidditch, which will now be known as quadball to cut ties with J.K. Rowling. (Major League Quidditch via CNN)
(Major League Quidditch via CNN)

(CNN) — Quidditch, the real-life sport inspired by the airborne game played by young wizards in “Harry Potter,” is ditching its whimsical name. Now, athletes will mount broomsticks to play quadball.

U.S. Quadball and Major League Quadball, the sports’ two governing bodies in North America, both announced the new name of “quadball” this week, which is set to go into effect this summer. The International Quidditch Association plans to adopt the new name, too, the organizations said.

There were two reasons for the name change, per the governing bodies: The sport wanted to separate itself from “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling and her anti-transgender rhetoric. Also, neither organization owned the “quidditch” trademark. (Warner Bros., which owns the “quidditch” trademark, and CNN share parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.)

Rowling has increasingly shared views that take aim at transgender people, particularly trans women. Her comments have alienated many of her fans and several of the actors who brought her stories to screen, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, who have both publicly supported trans people.

Both organizations denounced her positions, saying that the sport was “one of the most progressive sports in the world on gender equality,” referencing a rule that requires teams to have no more than four players of the same gender on the field at once.

And so, last December, the then-quidditch leaders decided to find a new name for the sport by surveying players. Options at the time included quadraball, quidball and the eventual winner, among others.

“This name change is a game changer for us, and we are looking to make the most of it,” Major League Quadball’s founders said in an open letter to players.

The sport formerly known as quidditch came to the Muggle world in 2005, when two Middlebury College students started playing it on their campus. The game is a mix of rugby and dodgeball, among others, and features hoops that players must hoist balls through. Players must be mounted on broomsticks throughout the game.

Since its founding, the sport has expanded to 40 countries and nearly 600 teams, according to the governing bodies.

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Quidditch is changing its name to quadball to cut ties with J.K. Rowling