A Philadelphia Legend
For 41 years, the Phillie Phanatic has entertained the baseball fans of Philadelphia. He is perhaps the most recognizable mascot in all of professional sports. However, he is now the subject of a lawsuit between the Phillies and his creators, New York-based firm Harrison/Erickson. Could it be possible the Phillies lose the rights to their beloved mascot?The Phillies will do everything in their power to ensure this doesn’t happen.
The Phanatic’s Creation
The Phillie Phanatic made his debut in 1978 and quickly became a fan favorite thanks to his unusual green appearance, his shenanigans against opposing players, and his dugout-top belly dance. For the past few years, he’s even been seen riding around the outfield on a four wheeler during pre-game warm ups.
The Philadelphia Phillies entrusted Harrison/Erickson, specifically Bonnie Erickson, to design the Phanatic, but maintain they are the “author of the Phanatic character,” and “that Harrison/Erickson just executed it.”
The Phillies admit they declined to purchase the copyright at the time for $1,300.00, but have spent millions promoting the Phanatic.
In 1984, it became clear the Phanatic had staying power, so the Phillies and Harrison/Erickson terminated their original agreement and negotiated a new contract worth $215,000. In the lawsuit, the Phillies argue that this deal gave them sole ownership of the Phanatic. “The 1984 assignment expressly states that the transfer of these rights is ‘forever,'” the lawsuit claims.
Regardless, Harrison/Erickson feels they are entitled to compensation. According to the Phillies, Harrison/Erickson “has threatened to obtain an injunction against the Phillies’ use of the Phanatic and to ‘make the Phanatic a free agent’ if the Club does not renegotiate the 1984 Assignment and pay H/E millions of dollars.”
The Fans Would Not Be Happy
Everyone knows how passionate Philadelphia sports fans are. It would potentially cause riots in the streets if the courts ruled in favor of the firm.
The following quotes are from local Phillies fans:
“We’ll definitely pay, you got to keep the Phanatic,” said Tyler Kern of Sewell, New Jersey.
“He’s been part of the team since the 1970s. I mean it’s been too long, right?” said Bill Hand of Westmont, N.J.
“We’ve loved it since we’ve been kids, it’s a Philly tradition,” said Andrea Tororeto of Cherry Hill. “We’ll have to start a petition!”
“He embodies everything that is Philly. He’s real! He’s out there win or lose, rain, sun, snow,” Eddie Mellon of Merchantville, New Jersey said.
The Phanatic is Here to Stay
It’s impossible to believe the Phillies would actually allow the Phanatic to become a “free agent.” The Phillies have simply invested way too much in the character to risk letting another team acquire his rights. Even if Philadelphia comes out on the wrong end of the suit, you have to believe they will pay stupid money to keep Philadelphia’s favorite mascot around for years to come.
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