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State of Play

State of Play

  • Premiered: 
    December 4, 2013
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: HBO
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Sports
  • Tags:

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Plot Synopsis

By combining documentaries with roundtable discussions, STATE OF PLAY explores various topics in sports, while revealing their relationships with society. Each one-hour episode of Season 1 opens with a brief overview about that night's topic, followed by a 40-minute cinema verite documentary and concluding with a 20-minute panel discussion, including subjects, guest experts, and moderator Peter Berg. "Trophy Kids," the first installment of STATE OF PLAY, premiered on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9pm ET/PT on HBO, highlighting the obsession parents have with the scholastic athletic competition of their children and featuring a panel discussion with sports psychologist Larry Lauer and former pro football player Todd Marinovich. On Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 10pm ET/PT on HBO, STATE OF PLAY returned with the first of four new episodes. The first edition, "Happiness," begins with a 35-minute documentary that explores the lives of three former NFL greats, quarterback Brett Favre, running back Tiki Barber and wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, as they transition from leading the lives of American superstars to those of civilians. Berg then hosts a roundtable discussion with former New York Giants star and pro football hall of famer Michael Strahan, who now enjoys a successful TV career as a morning talk-show host and weekend NFL studio analyst; former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions in June 2005 facing Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings; and educator and author Shawn Achor, who is a world renowned researcher in the field of Positive Psychology. Subsequent programs debut at the same time on consecutive Tuesdays: Nov. 25, Dec. 2 & Dec. 9.
From acclaimed filmmaker Peter Berg, three new, half-hour installments of STATE OF PLAY premiered on three consecutive nights at 8pm ET/PT on HBO, from Tuesday, December 13 through Thursday, December 15, 2016. The first installment, "Inherent Violence," explores combat sports through two father-son relationships, a 33-year-old American professional MMA fighter who is combat training his ten-year-old son, and a 47-year-old retired player of Calcio Storico in Florence, Italy, who has groomed his son to compete in this form of soccer (dating back to the 16th century), in which head-butting, punching, elbowing and choking are allowed. The second film, "Fighting Chance," chronicles the life of 35-year-old Raymundo 'Sugar Ray' Beltran, a Mexican immigrant and father of three, who is striving to win his first world title as his career wanes. Known as a formidable opponent and a sparring partner of worldwide superstar Manny Pacquiao, he has spent most of his career on the fringe of the sport, and now strives to break free of his underdog status. Beltran's pursuit of a championship brings into sharp focus the question of what it takes to win and asks if talent and skill alone make an athlete successful in boxing, or do circumstance, context and politics also play a significant role? Then, the finale, "Game of Borders," focuses on the Palestine national football team, which keeps play amid the conflict and chaos of the Middle East. Should they take the field when the stakes off the field are as high as life and death? Or do these athletes provide an essential and peaceful glimmer of light to their community?


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Film 44
  • In collaboration with Herzog & Company
  • In collaboration with HBO Sports