HBO SPORTS®, NFL FILMS AND THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS TEAM UP FOR HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, A NEW SEASON OF THE GROUNDBREAKING SPORTS REALITY SERIES, DEBUTING TUESDAY, AUG. 8, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS kicks off its five-episode season this summer. Spotlighting this NFC South team on the rise, the 12th edition of the 14-time Sports Emmy® Award-winning series debuts TUESDAY, AUG. 8 (10:00–11:00 p.m. ET/PT). Other hour-long episodes of the first sports-based reality series — and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV — debut subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, with encore plays Wednesday nights, culminating in the Sept. 5 season finale.
“HARD KNOCKS wins new fans to the sport of football every year because its themes are universal: a show about hope, adversity, team-building, tough decisions and players who are trying to fit in while also trying to stand out,” says Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “The partnership between HBO Sports and NFL FILMS dates back to the 1970s, and we at HBO are honored to continue that decades-old tradition with a fresh team making its HARD KNOCKS debut. We are grateful to the Glazer family and everyone with the Buccaneers franchise for allowing us the freedom to chronicle what promises to be an intriguing training camp experience in Tampa Bay.”
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have everything we look for when it comes to HARD KNOCKS: a young, dynamic team filled with big names; an experienced coaching staff focused on taking their squad to the next level; and high expectations in a division that has represented the NFC in the past two Super Bowls,” says NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “Our sincere thanks go out to the Glazer family and the entire Buccaneers organization, as well as our longtime partners and friends at HBO Sports. Our goal is to eventually feature every NFL franchise on a season of HARD KNOCKS, so we are thrilled with the opportunity to showcase a team for the first time and show football fans everywhere what the Buccaneers are all about.”
Camera crews will head to Tampa in the next few weeks to begin filming, with the action heating up in August when the cinema verité show focuses on the daily lives and routines of players and coaches. HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS will chronicle head coach Dirk Koetter and an intriguing mix of young emerging stars, Pro Bowl veterans, free agents and rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the preseason.
The Buccaneers are coming off a 9–7 season in which they contended for a playoff spot. Each week, viewers will get an inside look as players experience the daily rigors of an NFL training camp. Cameras will document hours of conditioning practices and meetings, while chronicling players as they compete for a roster spot and bond off the field.
“A tremendous amount of hard work goes on behind the scenes to prepare for an NFL season, and HARD KNOCKS does a great job every year of giving the fans the type of unprecedented access that only NFL Films can provide,” says Jason Licht, Buccaneers general manager. “Our fans will get to know our players, coaches and support staff like never before.”
“We have multiple coaches who have prior experience with HARD KNOCKS, so I have a good understanding and appreciation for how HBO and NFL FILMS work with the players and coaches to document all that goes on in preparation for the upcoming season,” says Dirk Koetter, the Buccaneers’ second-year head coach. “We have a roster full of players who will be focused on competing and improving each and every day during training camp. It will be good to give our fans that rare opportunity to see just how much work our entire organization is putting in to prepare for this season.”
A 30-person NFL Films crew will be in Buccaneers training camp at team headquarters in Tampa, shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will have unencumbered access to players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.
No other sports reality series can match the production excellence, critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by HARD KNOCKS, which has produced 57 memorable episodes and one anniversary special in its first 11 seasons. Episodes have averaged 3.9 million viewers over the past three seasons.
Winner of 14 Sports Emmy® Awards to date, HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002, and resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, subsequently spotlighting the Cowboys (2008), Cincinnati Bengals (2009), New York Jets (2010), Miami Dolphins (2012), Bengals (2013), Atlanta Falcons (2014) and Houston Texans (2015). The 2016 edition, chronicling the return of the Los Angeles Rams to southern California, has been nominated for four Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence. Winners will be announced May 9.
Six of the last seven teams featured on HARD KNOCKS have equaled or improved their win-loss record in the regular season. Teams who have recently earned playoff berths immediately following their appearance on HARD KNOCKS include the Bengals (2009, 2013), Jets (2010) and Houston Texans (2015).
The Washington Post wrote, “Turning football players into people is what HBO’s Hard Knocks series does so well. The massive scope, meticulous editing and time-hopping special effects that highlight a production under massive time constraints are all impressive, but it’s the film crew’s access to NFL players that makes the program special.” New York’s Daily News termed it “the gold standard of sports reality programming,” while espnW wrote, “The return of the NFL season also means the return of one of the best shows on television, ‘Hard Knocks.’ This [is a] rare look at how any given moment can be the end of a season or even a career.”
Winner of 123 Sports Emmy® Awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which comprises NFL Network, NFL Films, NFL.com, NFL Now, NFL Mobile from Verizon and NFL RedZone.
HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS will be narrated by Liev Schreiber.
Follow @HBOPR for more news and information.