After two seasons of shooting in Miami, it looks like HBO’s Ballers may be California-bound. Nothing is official yet, and the network has only said they’re evaluating their options, but Rene Rodriguez of The Miami Herald reports that the show appears to be packing up and preparing to head out.
Multiple sources from the South Florida film community, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being penalized, stated the network has ordered local crews to load all of the show’s sets and costumes onto cargo containers, which are being transported to California via tractor-trailers.
By Monday afternoon, a warehouse at 3000 NW 123rd St. in Opa-Locka where the “Ballers” production assets are stored in-between seasons had already been nearly emptied.
HBO declined to address the rumors directly. In a statement provided to the Herald, the network only said, ‘“Ballers’ season 3 production doesn’t start until next year so we are still evaluating how best to serve the series. We will announce our plans when they are finalized.”
Rumors started swirling last month that the show, which stars Dwayne Johnson as a former NFL star turned financial advisor, would not continue to film in Miami after the Florida Legislature declined to replenish the state’s depleted tax-incentive program, which used rebates to lure out-of-town productions.
According to figures provided by the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment, HBO received a tax credit of $3.8 million on expenditures of $19.2 million for the first season of “Ballers,” which was filmed in 2014. Final figures for the second season are not yet available.
California launched an aggressive $330 million annual tax-incentive program in 2015 designed to lure productions that had moved to Georgia, Florida and other locations back to the state. The program generated $1.5 billion in in-state spending during its first fiscal year.
We’ll see if this comes to pass or not, but it’s certainly interesting to see Ballers potentially relocating because of tax incentives, especially given that Miami and South Beach have been a big part of the show so far. It will also be interesting to see if the location change, if it happens, is addressed on screen, and if so, how it will be. The Dwayne Johnson-starring Ballers has been a nice performer for HBO; while its live-plus-same-day numbers aren’t outstanding, Variety says it’s averaging 7.1 million viewers overall (including 17% digital and 16% on demand audiences) and “continues to be HBO’s most-watched half-hour series.” That means we’ll likely see a lot more Ballers; the only question is where it will be shot.