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U.K. media outlets from the BBC to ITV, Sky to The Guardian, were buzzing Tuesday with news of the launch of Britain’s Quidditch Premier League.
Featuring eight teams competing in the sport made up by J.K. Rowling in her Harry Potter books, the league says on its website that it will launch next summer. “Exact dates are yet to be confirmed, but expect the inaugural QPL season to debut in early July 2017 and to conclude in late August 2017,” it says.
The news of the launch comes just ahead of the theatrical launch of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, starring Eddie Redmayne and set in Rowling’s magical universe.
Each Premier League team will represent “a geographic ‘catchment area,’ ” the league says on its site. The eight teams competing are The London Monarchs, The Southwest Broadside, The Southeast Knights and The Eastern Mermaids in the Southern division, and The Northern Watch, The Yorkshire Roses, The East Midland Archers and The West Midland Revolution in the Northern region.
Each team will hold regional tryouts in its area in April. “The best 30 players will be chosen by that team’s manager, and they will form that team’s 2017 roster,” says the league. “Twenty-one players from those 30 will be selected for each fixture, providing some flexibility and strategy, as well as allowances for fatigue over the course of the season.”
Seven players, including a keeper, a seeker, three chasers and two beaters, are on the field for each team at any time, with a maximum of four players of the same gender per team allowed at the same time.
The quaffle is a semi-deflated volleyball thrown through hoops for points. The snitch in the real-life game is a tennis ball inside a sock that is attached to the snitch runner’s shorts. When the snitch is caught by either team’s seeker, the game ends.
What about hoops, brooms and jerseys? “We are hoping to partner with several organizations to provide standardized equipment,” the league says.
Quidditch in the Potter books is played by teams that fly on broomsticks. In the real-life version, players must hold a broom between their legs and run around a pitch.
Two students in Vermont are credited with first putting on games in 2005. The sport has since seen tournaments in various parts of the world. There is even a biannual Quidditch World Cup. Australia won the most recent edition in Frankfurt in July.
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