Could the Phillies lose the Phillie Phanatic to free agency?
A legal disagreement has arisen between the Phillies and the Phillie Phanatic’s designer.
Few things are more synonymous with the Phillies than the Phillie Phanatic, the loveable, Met-hating, hotdog shooting mascot of the Phillies. Not the Liberty Bell, cheesesteak, or John Kruk mullet.
Earlier this week a legal battle between the Phillies and Harrison/Erickson Incorporated, who helped create the Phanatic costume, emerged.
According to court documents, the Phillies are alleging that H/E is attempting to go back on an agreement from 1984 that gave the team rights to the Phanatic “forever.”
Josh Gerben, the founder of the trademark law firm Gerben Law Firm, lays out the case in simple English for fans to understand.
The background on how the Phanatic came to life is well documented in team history. Bill Giles, now chairman emeritus and former part-owner of the Phils, wanted a muppet-like mascot similar to the San Diego Chicken.
Giles contacted Muppet creator Jim Henson, who directed him to H/E to create what Giles wanted, a fat green character.
Giles paid $3,900 for the original Phanatic costume and later paid $250,000 for the copyright after giving the Phanatic a test-run.
Needless to say, the Phanatic has been a major success since the “test-run” made in the ’70s and ’80s.
According to Forbes, Phillie Phanatic merchandise accounted for about 10% of the overall retail sales at Citizens Bank Park going into the 2016 season. Forbes calculated the Phillies to be worth about $1.9 billion entering the 2019 season with a revenue of $341 million.
There’s clearly a lot of green behind the Phanatic, and it doesn’t involve his fur.
I’d be shocked to see anything happen with the Phanatic anytime soon, and hopefully, the recent legal action keeps the furry green friend in the stands for years to come.