The Philadelphia Phillies are suing design firm Harrison/Erickson Incorporated for ownership of the rights to the Phillie Phanatic mascot.
According to TMZ Sports, Harrison/Erickson is threatening to terminate its agreement with the Phillies and prevent the team from using the Phanatic beyond June 15, 2020, if the two sides do not renegotiate. Harrison/Erickson also said it will make the Phanatic a "free agent."
In the lawsuit filed by the Phillies, the organization said it worked with Harrison/Erickson to create the Phanatic in 1978. The Phillies said they renegotiated with the firm in 1984 and paid $215,000 for permanent rights to the Phanatic.
Harrison/Erickson alleges that the contract does not give the Phillies rights to the Phanatic forever, which is why it is attempting to rework the agreement.
If Harrison/Erickson does try to sell the Phanatic's rights to another team, the Phillies want the firm and the team that uses the Phanatic to be punished.
Since its debut in April 1978, the Phanatic has become one of the most famous mascots in all of sports.
The Phanatic is a huge part of the in-game experience at Citizens Bank Park, as it rides around on an ATV, interacts with fans and messes with opposing players.