The Phillies will unveil a new look to the Phillie Phanatic this weekend, with the hopes to end their recent legal trouble regarding the beloved mascot.
The 2020 Philadelphia Phillies will not only feature a new manager and roster makeup, but also a new look to the Phillie Phanatic.
The new-look Phanatic will debut this Sunday in the team’s Grapefruit League home opener opposite Pittsburgh Pirates. Salisbury notes that possible creative changes to the Phanatic could include his shoes, socks, and measurements. Team officials have declined comment, citing litigation.
Erickson and Harrison were hired to design the original Phanatic costume back in the late 1970s. The Phillies purchased rights to the Phanatic in 1984, however Salisbury notes that federal law allows artists to “renegotiate rights to their work after 35 years.”
Two years ago, the duo informed the organization, according to Salisbury, that they would seek to “wrest the rights to the Phanatic away from the team unless it paid them millions.” In response, the Phillies filed a lawsuit against Erickson and Harrison in New York federal court last year, contending the Phanatic’s rise from a costume to an icon is the result of their own doing and investment. Hence, the organization believes the Phanatic is their rightful creative property.
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Legally, the Phillies will maintain rights to the Phanatic until June 15. However, they hope their recent revisions to the costume will “be enough to legally continue its use” beyond that date, Salisbury notes.
The Phanatic has had several changes over the years from when he first debuted, but none before as the result of legal woes. Sunday’s 1 p.m. game, with probable starter RHP Aaron Nola, will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia.