HBO not wavering on use of NFL team names and logos in Ballers

In the wake of the news that the new HBO series Ballers includes NFL team names and logos without NFL consent, several PFT readers have noticed that trailers for the series have scrubbed out the NFL logos.

Those observations are correct; a scene that includes series star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson playing for the Miami Dolphins and hitting a player on the Buffalo Bills omits any NFL logos in the preview appearing below. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, however, this isn’t a new development. HBO specifically decided to omit NFL logos from any commercials or other promotions featuring clips from the show. HBO fully intends to use NFL team names and logos in the first episode of the series, which debuts on June 21.

Possibly, HBO didn’t want the presence of NFL team names and logos to become an issue before the show debuts. With HBO making the first four episodes available for review by multiple members of the media, it was inevitable that someone would: (1) notice the presence of NFL team names and logos; (2) ask whether the NFL authorized the use of NFL team names and logos.

To date, neither the NFL nor the Dolphins (the team most prominently featured in the first four episodes of the series) have commented on the situation. It’ll be interesting to see whether they continue to be silent as of Monday, June 22, the day after HBO officially pulls the sheet off the de facto successor to Playmakers.

33 responses to “HBO not wavering on use of NFL team names and logos in Ballers

  1. Other than “Brian’s Song” which really wasn’t about football, has there ever been a good football movie/TV show? “Water Boy” is good but goofy. “Any Given Sunday’, “The Longest Yard”, and “Draft Day” were interesting but most of these movies took place off the field. I have HBO but will not reschedule my time to watch this series.

  2. Florio with you being an attorney I was really hoping you would give your take on what is going on?

    For instance. So say would something like HBO and the NFL have a gentlemen’s agreement set for a date sometime after it airs. To something of the extent that if the show is successful HBO will kick back the NFL “X” amount for the use of team names and logos?

    Is there any precedents or way that the NFL would give HBO a free pass? Such as HBO painting the league in a positive manner?

    I don’t know. I’m just spitballing here…

  3. xenova1: has there ever been a good football movie/TV show?

    Not really. Leatherheads was a pretty okay flick, but then again it was less about the actual football and more about the people involved in the early days of the sport. And that’s what people look for in movies about football. If you want to watch football then you go to a game or tune in during the season. Someone could make a great movie about the actual sport, but only football super-nerds are going to like it, and because of that no big money producers will invest in it. And so, that’s why end up with movies like Varsity Blues, Replacements, Necessary Roughness, and Wildcats. People enjoy movies about people. The football part always has to take second stage.

  4. xenova1 says:
    Other than “Brian’s Song” which really wasn’t about football, has there ever been a good football movie/TV show?

    Ah, youngsters! Track down HBO’s “1st and Ten” from the early-mid 80’s.

  5. @xenova1 – North Dallas Forty was/is probably the best football movie there is. Made a while back, but very good.

  6. Brians song” by far the best” not really about football ,but based on a football players how it changed another players life.Now the REPLACMENTS would be the closes’st
    to a real football movie+
    i didn’t see any logos being used”just colors “

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if those logos were purposefully left in those first promos. Controversy has been a source of free publicity since Edison first started frying elephants.

  8. tccoats–I agree with you and I’ve posted it before, North Dallas Forty is one of the best football movies ever. I’m guessing that a lot of people don’t mention it because it came out in 1979, but for anybody who hasn’t seen it, it’s definitely worth your time.

  9. That’s because HBO isn’t afraid of the NFL and thier witch hunting style of legal tactics. A judge would laugh at any argument Roger “I charged the the pats with strong armed robbery when they shop lifted a candy bar.” Godell.

  10. Correction it is like Godell charged Brady with strong armed robbery for an alleged shop lifting of a candy Bar by someone else and convicted Brady based on there text messages stating that Brady likes candy bars. So he was charged with a crime that couldn’t even be proven that the person who stole the candy bar was guilty let alone someone who had nothing to do with it what so ever (Brady.)

  11. Maybe the NFL screwed HBO over on something and this is revenge for that and is going to make the NFL sue them for which it will be too late because thw show already aired.

    Everyone knows the NFL more probably than not screwed them over on something

  12. So no one considers Remember the Titans as a football movie? No level was set as a barometer. Probably one of the greatest most sincere movie of all time. People here listing comedies and fluff pics as if that’s the best to utilize. Hmm.

  13. Made for TV movie: The Junction Boys. I cannot seem to find that movie anywhere anymore, but found it to be an incredible story about Bear Bryant’s first year at A&M. Just thought i’d jump into the moves conversation

    I would like to hear Florios take on it from a legal standpoint. The trailer makes it seem as though the show is going to show the “other side” of football ala Playmakers which may make the NFL jump in at that point. At the very least to do away with any likeness to the NFL.

  14. Friday Night Lights the TV show was good on the field at times

    The Replacements was real fun watch but not like the last 3.

    Friday Night Lights the Movie was pretty good.

    HBOs first & 10 from the 80s was a lot of fun & done pretty well.

    But North Dallas Forty is the best & for its time, the closest to what we now now is the NFL business. It was groundbreaking & eye opening. Before North Dallas Forty that kinda lifestyle, behavior & team management mentality had never really been shown as the book & the movie did.

  15. @missippi

    Forgot Remember the Titans. You are right, belongs with North Dallas Forty to show the strides & growing pains we as a country struggled with in a time of conflict & intolerance. How they were all brought together to become winners & the deplorable conduct of some short sighted individuals for no reason except hatred. Great football movie that also teaches us things in regards to acceptance & misplaced hatred. Also very few do it as well as Denzel,

  16. How can everyone forget Necessary Roughness with Sinbad? Oh wait…I just answered my own question. Give it another week, there will be another Sinbad death hoax.

  17. We Are Marshall and Invincible succeed because they don’t bog the movie down with a ton of predictable football sequences. More character driven than football.

  18. BTW, Vince Pappale cashed in big time for a player who never scored an NFL touchdown.

  19. Lol Xenova, really? You must not watch too many movies, or tv shows, either that or you don’t quite know the difference between “good” and “oscar worthy”.

    Rudy, Remember the Titans, Blue Mountain State, The Blindside, North Dallas Forty, Friday Night Lights, Varsity Blues, The original Longest Yard, hell, even Invincible are all good.

  20. The logos are legal on the actual show because it’s a work of art. You can legally use anything for art.

    The logos are legally questionable on the commercials because the logos can be perceived as an endorsement of the show by the NFL. Advertisements are a way to make money, and you damn well better have the NFL’s permission to use their trademarks before you use them to make money.

    HBO is walking a fine line here, which is why many writers/producers/etc. don’t even bother with it and use imaginary teams. But if they’re careful they’ll be okay.

  21. North Dallas Forty clearly the best. Thanks @Teddyisthefuture. Good List.. Might even add Heaven Can Wait ( more of a love story around football theme, Warren Beatty as QB of the LA Rams).

    I think the Dolphins should go after HBO and take the award money to pay for Suh. SUE For SUH… See what I did there? 😉

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