Phuck You: Phillies Debut A New Look Phanatic
As Spring Training kicks off today with the first televised Phillies game – there was a noticeable change to the Phillies’ mascot. Let’s check it out and dive into why a change happened.
Back in 1978 – Harrison/Erickson Inc. (dumb name) entered an agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies over the use of a character they created (Phanatic) until 1984. At that time the Phillies tossed Harrison/Erickson Inc. $215k for what they claim was the right to use the character “forever”.
But apparently, that wasn’t the case. H/E – who probably hate Philly – are now claiming they are owed millions in a contract renegotiation if the Phillies continue to use the Phanatic character as their mascot past June 2020 due to some provision in the copyright laws saying after 35 years the time is up.
“The termination provisions of copyright law allow an author to reclaim rights after 35 years, but the Phillies say that H/E is falsely claiming it ‘created the copyrighted character’ while ‘ignor[ing] The Phillies’ role in designing the Phanatic’s costume.”
Phillies aren’t backing down. Today, the Phillies pulled off a big “fuck you” move and made some changes to the Phanatic character in spite of H/E lawsuit, ultimately putting an end to the H/E lawsuit and creating their own version of the mascot.
What a wild move. Honestly, the changes weren’t even that drastic. A bit furrier. Some updates to the eyebrows. And a smaller (probably immovable) belly – which sucks because the Phanatic Belly Roll is an all-time Mascot move that even Gritty does now.
Look, if you created the character that turned into the most recognized mascots of all time. I get it. You got a bum deal and only $215k in return for it. Imagine all the merchandising cash the Phillies have made using the Phillie Phanatic mascot – must be millions of dollars. I’d be pissed too if I wasn’t getting a piece.
Going straight to a lawsuit about it? I’m not sure – personally, I would have looked to use Phillies as an advertising machine and get some branding inside the stadium, labeled with the Phanatic, maybe release a History of the Phanatic type thing as a website series online, whatever – but to think the Phillies were just going to be like “oh okay, here’s millions of dollars” when they won’t even go over the luxury tax to build a championship roster is bananas. Are these guys even Phillies fans?
And the Phillies are pissed. Here’s an excerpt from the Phillies Team Complaint:
“The Club therefore requests that this Court put an immediate end to H/E’s effort to hold up The Phillies with its threats of legal action and to make the Phanatic a free agent. By issuing a declaratory judgment in The Phillies’ favor and an injunction against H/E’s threatened actions, the Court will ensure that Phillies fans will not be deprived of their beloved mascot of 41 years and that The Phillies’ investment of creativity, time, effort and money in the Phanatic will not be liquidated by H/E.”
What a nice big “fuck off” from the Phightin’ Phillies. They want no part of it. Give me 2020 Phillies Baseball and a new look Phanatic – I honestly don’t give a shit. As long as we are winning games all summer long and Nick Pivetta is nowhere near our bullpen, I’ll be just fine.
*** UPDATED FEBRUARY 25TH ***
Turns out H/E are still not happy – if not even more pissed with the new Phanatic. In a statement released today:
“The Phillies lack of good faith in negotiating for an extension of the copyright assignment for the Phillie Phanatic is disappointing,” said Wayde Harrison. “But the unveiling of the so-called ‘new’ Phanatic on Sunday is an affront to our intellectual property rights and to Phillies fans everywhere.”
LOL. Still torn on what side to be on. I love the move by the Phillies changing the Phanatic slightly – but credit to H/E for calling bullshit.