Quidditch cuts ties to 'Harry Potter' as it rebrands as quadball Quadball is a reference both to the number of balls on the field and the number of positions in the game. The leagues and governing bodies hope the rebrand will also allow the sport to grow more.

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

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Quidditch, the real-life sport inspired by the "Harry Potter" series, is changing its name to try to distance itself from author J.K. Rowling. NPR's Wynne Davis looks into the controversy that's led to the change.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCEROR'S STONE")

LUKE YOUNGBLOOD: (As Lee Jordan) Hello, and welcome to Hogwarts' first Quidditch game of the season - Slytherin versus Gryffindor.

WYNNE DAVIS, BYLINE: Anyone who has seen the movies will remember the dramatic scenes of Harry Potter diving through air on his broomstick over the Quidditch pitch. The magical game was so captivating that it inspired a real-life version that has the same positions and basic premise as the fictional game.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCEROR'S STONE")

SEAN BIGGERSTAFF: (As Oliver Wood) Quidditch is easy enough to understand. Each team has seven players - three chasers, two beaters, one keeper and the seeker.

DAVIS: The game has come a long way since it was founded in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont. It's now played in 40 countries by nearly 600 teams. And while the connection to Rowling's series was once a draw, the author alienated many players with her anti-trans comments and stances.

MARY KIMBALL: As a mixed-gender sport, inclusivity is really important to us. And because we shared the name Quidditch, it started to affect our brand.

DAVIS: That's Mary Kimball, executive director of the organization formerly known as U.S. Quidditch. After much deliberation, the governing bodies finally chose a new name - quadball. Kimball says the change is bittersweet but will help the sport move forward.

KIMBALL: We took Quidditch and we gave it a complete transformation, and we made it our own. But we still get to run around with a broom between our legs and dunk on our friends and try to catch the Snitch. And that excitement is not going away.

DAVIS: And so the magic of the sport will live on.

Wynne Davis, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC TO FEEL FREE'S "COMES BACK")

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