JK Rowling Causes Real-World Sport To Change Its Name

JK Rowling may have created one of the modern fantasy epics, but that does not mean that people playing a sport have to like it.

By Matthew Creith | Published

jk rowling

When JK Rowling initially wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and it first hit bookstores in 1997, the series about a boy wizard took off running. Seven books and nearly a dozen films later, the characters surrounding the life of Harry Potter have found themselves rooted in popular culture for years to come. The success of the film franchise has brought about real-life change, while many of the characters and sequences from the movies have inspired Halloween costumes and social media sensations. JK Rowling has become a controversial figure after being thrust into the spotlight in recent years. Her books and movies have sparked interest in quidditch, which has been transformed into a real sport played by thousands worldwide. But that’s changed due to Rowling’s continuous public behavior.

According to a report by NPR, organizers of U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch will be rebranding the sport to be called “Quadball” instead. Quidditch is a fictional sport that British author JK Rowling created for the Harry Potter book series and featured prominently in the film versions. According to Bleacher Report, the real-world form of the sport was brought to life by students at Middlebury College in Vermont in 2005, and it consists of two teams of seven players riding a broomstick, attempting to score more points than each other team. In the novels and movies, Quidditch players fly around the arena on their respective broomsticks, while in real life, players are stuck running around on the field instead. However, the rules of the sport appear to be strikingly similar.

The rebranding effort of Quidditch to Quadball essentially has to do with ongoing comments that JK Rowling has repeated about the trans community. As NBC News reports, U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch are distancing themselves from JK Rowling, who has come under fire for tweets about trans people, including “a nearly 4,000-word blog post” posted to Twitter in 2020 that many felt was incredibly transphobic. Apparently, with this post, Rowling postulated that younger generations have caught an epidemic on social media, making them think they are trans. Her comments came at the height of the George Floyd protests and COVID-19 lockdowns, which made her opinions seem even more distasteful. Since then, many organizations have attempted to disassociate from Rowling, with GLAAD tweeting their response to the controversy.

Organizers behind the U.S. Quidditch and Major League Quidditch leagues have also stated other reasons for changing the sport’s name to Quadball and being associated with JK Rowling. According to NPR, the term “quidditch” is a trademark owned by Warner Bros., which produced the Harry Potter franchise of films. When determining what name to go with for the sport, they surveyed existing players and fans to see what they thought the leagues should go with. Quadball came out victorious, and the name change has already gone into effect.