Phanatic a Free Agent? Phillies Fight to Keep Beloved Mascot in Philly
The Phillie Phanatic goes with the Phillies like peanut butter goes with jelly. The iconic mascot may be considered a free agent, however, with the Phillies fighting a new lawsuit to keep him at home.
The mascot has a rich history with the city, with his ‘birth’ dating back over 40 years ago in March of 1978. Phillies executive at the time, Bill Giles, was looking for a mascot that was family friendly and interacted with fans in a fun manner. At the time, Giles reached out to Muppets creator Jim Henson, who then referred him to Bonnie Erickson, a former assistant of Henson who helped make the iconic Sesame Street characters. Erikson and her husband Harrison created their own business creating mascots, which ultimately collaborated with Giles in creating the Phanatic.
The current lawsuit, filed by the New York based firm Erickson and Harrison, argues that they were the original creators of the Phanatic. The Phillies argue against that claim, and rather state that the Phillies staff collaborated with the two in the initial creation and vision of the mascot. Additionally, the Phillies note that the firm negotiated with the franchise a licensing agreement in 1984 for $215,000, giving the Phillies the rights to the mascot “forever.” Erickson and Harrison disagree, asking for ‘millions of dollars’ in exchange for the Phillies to keep the Phanatic at home, or else he will be a free agent on June 15, 2020.
The Phillie Phanatic made his official debut on April 25, 1978 and has since become an iconic character in Philly sports culture, making his potential departure from the city absolutely devastating. Do you think that the Phillies will be able to come to an agreement with the firm and keep the Phanatic at home?