Microsoft struck a five-year deal with the NFL to make Surface the official tablet of the league more than four years ago. While the deal was supposed to run for five years, Microsoft is now renewing it for a sixth year. Surface will now continue to be used for video reviews in NFL games until the end of the 2018 / 2019 season.
“We’re excited to help the NFL change the game with Surface devices being used by players and coaches on the sidelines to make more informed decisions, referees using Surface for instant replay to enhance the speed of the game, and teams using Microsoft products in their business and football operations,” says Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, in a statement to SportsPro. We look forward to continuing the partnership next season.”
Microsoft’s exclusive NFL deal has never been far from controversy. The software giant was forced to “coach” NFL announcers to not call its Surface tablets an iPad, and the company had to defend its tablets after the Patriots stopped using them. Despite this, Microsoft has reportedly spent $400 million on its Surface NFL deal, and it involves a complex range of infrastructure, software, and basic storage cabinets and cases used to protect the tablets. Microsoft has also produced its own Surface Type Covers with NFL logos, and the Madden 17 game also uses the tablets.