In a big win for Microsoft, the National Football League has inked a major deal with the software giant that promises to boost the profile of Surface tablets as well as Microsoft's popular Xbox gaming system.
The multi-year partnership agreement announced today will give NFL access to Surface tablets that Microsoft says will be used to enhance on-field communications, photo viewing and play calling.
As part of the deal, Surface by Microsoft and Windows are now “The Official Tablet and PC Operating System of the NFL.”
A number of NFL teams have been using iPads to replace heavy, paper-bound playbooks, including this year's Superbowl winning Baltimore Ravens, but this deal appears to supplant the use of Apple’s tablet.
Microsoft and the NFL said in a statement that they envision a sideline of the future with players reviewing in-game photos from different camera angles directly from the sideline “and head coaches calling plays off connected Surface tablets instead of today’s static paper products.”
In terms of a direct reach to consumers, the far bigger aspect of the deal is “The NFL on Xbox” part centered around the new Xbox One that will offer consumers interactive TV services, fantasy football and exclusive content.