“Ballers,” the HBO football comedy that is set in Miami and stars Dwayne Johnson as a former linebacker-turned-financial adviser, won’t be leaving South Florida despite the lack of state-funded tax incentives. But the network is leaving open the possibility to shoot at least part of the show elsewhere.
In a statement provided to The Herald by an HBO spokesperson, the network said “The Florida film incentive was a key factor when deciding to set up the production of ‘Ballers’ in Miami. With the incentive no longer available, we have begun evaluating the best way to serve season three, including an option to remain in Miami. Whatever the final decision, we believe some component of the series will be shot in Florida.”
“Ballers” was one of the recipients of the $296 million program launched in 2010 by the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment designed to lure Hollywood TV and film productions to the state with tax incentives and subsidies. Intended to last six years, the money ran out in three. The Florida Legislature declined to replenish the funds of the tapped-out program earlier this year.
According to the Office of Film’s 2014-2015 annual report, the first season of “Ballers,” shot over 64 days, received $6.7 million in state tax credits, which were redeemable only after shooting had wrapped and required 60 percent of the cast and crew come from Florida. The show’s second season was shot in the fall of 2015 and aired this summer.
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Although HBO guards the budgets of its shows closely, “Ballers” is not a cheap production. Johnson’s salary alone is $400,000 per episode.