Can a sport that involves chasing a person with a tennis ball stuffed down their shorts ever be taken seriously? We spoke to the guy who set up the Quidditch Premier League to find out
Quidditch, the fictional Harry Potter sport, which is now a real sport, is getting a fully-fledged premier league. The man behind the organisation, Director Jack Lennard, learned how to play the sport at university and now wants Quidditch to be bigger than ever. He’s even got a plan to curb corruption in the league. We spoke to Jack about copyright concerns, where they get the broomsticks from, and whether running around with a stick between your legs will ever considered a serious sport.
Why does Quidditch need a premier league?
Quidditch has been around in the UK since 2011. We have 750 players and 40 odd teams. Usually the season runs from October to March or April in accordance with the university term times (where most teams are based). That means that during the summer season, there’s very little Quidditch happening and there’s no real unified league across the nation, even for the high level players. I was sitting down at the start of this summer and thought, wouldn’t it be fantastic to offer a really professional level game play, with really professional level branding. We wanted a sleek package to boost the image of the sport, right before students go to uni and think of joining a team.
Do you think this will help people take Quidditch a bit more seriously?
I mean it’s not so much the league itself that I think will help that but I think it’s about getting the exposure. I think the legitimacy comes from that. It’s easy to laugh at and we do take it a bit tongue and cheek but once you actually see the game and see the complexity behind it and technicalities behind it, it’s very hard not to take it seriously. It really does sell itself.
How do you deal with copyright concerns?
I think there’s a understanding with Warner Brothers which is that we let each other be. They own the copyright for the words Quidditch, quaffel, bludgers, snitch; that kind of thing, but we’re not exactly rolling in money with this, so they’re not too concerned about lost income.
Inspired by the famous “Harry Potter” book and film series, Quidditch is the newest sport to sweep the UCLA campus and the rest of the world. UCLA is actively involved in the International Quidditch Association’s Western Regional Division. Learn about this unique sport and its players who made Quidditch a bona fide club sport team at UCLA.
Where do you get the broomsticks?
People get disappointed by this but the broomsticks are fairly normal; just PVC piping which some plastic caps at the end for safety. There are internal companies within the sport that supply them, which saves people going to B&Q all the time. They sell rounded ones and different colours specific for your team. There’s a little bit of an economy within the sport.
How will you prevent corruption within the Quidditch premier league?
Well we’re hardly going to turn into FIFA; that would be quite a turn of events. But I think this is important because I have seen some organisations completely loose accountability as they grow. So we’re registered with Company House and are in the process with setting up a bank account and once we’ve done that we’ll publish our accounts every year, at the end of each season.
Do you have a prize sorted for the winning team?
Well it’s really just about getting more chances to play, but we’re sorting out trophies and medals for the top three teams. Hopefully they’ll be happy with the prestige, and maybe those players will get spotted by the national team!