In 2013 Microsoft agreed to a deal that would pay the NFL $400 million over five seasons in part to have the Microsoft Surface tablet on each team’s sidelines. The current partnership was set to expire in 2018, but last week the two sides announced the deal has been renewed.
“Surface devices have become ubiquitous on NFL sidelines and in the coaches’ booth, and more than half of NFL franchises are using Surfaces end-to-end, as playbooks, to watch video and as a laptop replacement in their front office to handle the administrative duties of running the team,” said Microsoft.
Last year Microsoft’s deal with the NFL came under scrutiny after it was criticized by some coaches including Bill Belichick who stopped using the tablet during the season. Belichick decided to go back to pen and paper on the sideline saying, “As you probably noticed, I’m done with the tablets. I’ve given them as much time as I can give them. They’re just too undependable for me.”
Microsoft responded to the scrutiny last year by stating, “every week nearly 2,000 Surface devices are deployed at 34 stadiums, and used extensively at over 330 NFL games each year. And like the players, Surface has had to perform reliably in tough conditions from the frozen tundra of Green Bay, to the 120 degree turf of Miami, through torrential rainstorms and blustery snowstorms.”
“Every game is different – with some teams living by their Surface for critical plays at key moments – and others using them to blow off steam by banging their head on them. Like the players in the NFL, Surface keeps going – helping teams use technology to their competitive advantage.”
The $400 million partnership will continue to go beyond use of the Microsoft Surface. The deal also makes the Xbox One gaming system the “official game console of the NFL.” Xbox One serves as a platform to stream NFL games while simultaneously receiving exclusive NFL content and information.