The Philadelphia Phillies are currently fighting to keep their beloved mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, as their own. The club is suing the original creators in hopes of accomplishing their goal.
On Friday, the team filed a federal complaint accusing Harrison/Erickson Inc. and it's principals of going back on an agreement to let the Phillies use the mascot "forever" that was made in 1984.
The Phillies were forced to imagine a life without the beloved figure and say the defendants are threatening to end the Phillies use of the mascot in June of 2020. This would make the Phanatic a free agent unless the team renegotiated a contract, which could result in a million dollar agreement. According to a court filing, the Phillies say the original payout to the creators was $215,000.
The mascot has received its fair share of love, support and promotion over the years. Debuting in April of 1978, the fuzzy green icon was given millions of dollars in marketing and received multiple trademarks. The complaint says that Harrison/Erickson "does not have the right to deprive the Phillies' fans of the Phanatic" or eliminate the team's "huge, 41-year investment" in him.
The lawsuit aims to protect the image of Phanatic, blocking Harrison/Erickson and others from using the Phanatic image or selling Phanatic-related items, citing the 1984 agreement between the team and the creators.
A large, gree, flightless bird, the Phanatic's official MLB bio describes him as "Overweight, clumsy feet, extra long beak, extra-long curled up tongue, gawking neck and "slight" case of body odor." He is also in the Mascot Hall of Fame. Yes, that is a real thing.