Muggle ‘Quidditch’ Now ‘Quadball:’ Woke Virtue Signaling or Straight Economics?

Sky News reported yesterday that Muggle Quidditch groups have chosen ‘Quadball’ as the new name for their sport; From Quidditch changes its name to distance itself from JK Rowling

Real-life quidditch – which is based on the game featured in the Harry Potter books – is being renamed quadball by the sport’s governing bodies to “distance themselves from the works” of author JK Rowling.

US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch said at the end of last year they would conduct a series of surveys to find a new name for the sport.

The International Quidditch Association will also be adopting the new name worldwide, according to the announcement.

Major League Quadball, formerly Major League Quidditch, said changing the name “opens unprecedented opportunities for growth, exposure and partnerships”.

Despite the headline above (and a similar turn in The Daily Wire treatment) and as much as I believe that Harry Potter fandom has lost its collective mind about J. K. Rowling’s non-existent transphobia, I doubt very much that this change in name was made to “distance themselves from the works of J. K. Rowling.” The change from ‘Quidditch,’ a clever name with positive associations and over-the-top name recognition, is one driven by, surprise, surprise, money.

Quidditch organizations cannot receive corporate sponsorships or advertise without paying Warner Brothers. They’ve expanded as much as they can as in essence amateur organizations running on dues and tournament fees. To grow as a sport, they need to separate themselves from the copyright holder’s grip on their name.

Did fandom’s hysteria about Rowling’s resistance to transgender activist over reach and her insistence on the rights of women to safe spaces factor in to this decision? Almost certainly, but primarily as a catalyst, I’m guessing, to a separation that would have happened eventually — and as a virtue-signaling cover for what is really an economic and mercantile move.

The change may also reflect that Muggle Quidditch has been dying a natural death as a fad sport that really has little interest outside college communities. Their forced integration of sexes, though magical Quidditch features men and women on teams based on both sexes being equally able to fly brooms at great speeds, rather gives away the game that this isn’t a real sport. I expect this a last gasp effort to generate news stories about the Muggle version of the Wizarding World game and that ‘Quadball’ will soon be a trivia question about fads of the early 21st century.

If you really think this is about Woke fandom sticking “two fingers up” at The Presence, you can read a full write-up of that perspective at Expecto Vomitum! Wokesters Change the Name of Quidditch. I’m not a big fan of Occam or his razor, but the simpler explanation of the change here is almost certainly the right one: follow the money. Warner Brothers or the Quidditch leagues’ own lawyers told them there were copyright issues with the continued use of the game’s name and they have elected to go with ‘Quadball’ to duck litigation, create some publicity, and to foster sponsorships and contracts. Best wishes to them in what I have to think is a venture doomed to failure in the long or short terms.


  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    I had an initial browse around Quidditch-related English Wikipedia articles (of which I find there are many and various!) and see that “US Quadball” includes reference to “the ownership of ‘Quidditch’ by Warner Bros” as does “Major League Quadball” – both footnoting a “BBC” article – while “Quidditch (real-life sport)” includes reference to “the fact that the film studio Warner Bros holds the trademark to the word ‘Quidditch'”, footnoting a post from the mlquidditch website.

    Others, like “Quidditch Canada” (“last edited on 14 May 2022, at 16:56 (UTC)”) and “QuidditchUK” (though “last edited on 21 July 2022, at 04:42 (UTC)” and reporting ” In July 2022 QUK made a statment [sic] saying they plan to rebrand with the new name Quadball later in 2022″) have no reference to Warner Bros.

    The supposed BBC article, which turns out to be a CNN one, says only “Also, neither organization owned the ‘quidditch’ trademark. (Warner Bros., which owns the ‘quidditch’ trademark, and CNN share parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.)”

    The mlquidditch post of 15 December 2021 has more detail including “As the game has grown, the name ‘quidditch’, which is trademarked by Warner Bros., has limited the sport’s expansion, including but not limited to sponsorship and broadcast opportunities.” This is followed by a quotation including “Renaming the sport opens up so many more revenue opportunities for both organizations, which is crucial to expansion” from USQ Executive Director Mary Kimball. The ‘distancing’ dimension only appears in the penultimate paragraph, beginning “Additionally”.

    So, I think you have indeed put your finger on the right explanation. Whether quidditch and/or the Sport Formerly Known as Quidditch lives on is an interesting question – I just learnt today of the existence of Pickleball, which has apparently in some sense been going since 1964…

  2. There is a big problem with the name quadball. If you look around quad-ball is also the name of an adult bondage sex contraption that is not exactly what the sport needs. They really needed to do a bit more research on the term before using it.

Speak Your Mind