In 2014, Microsoft’s Surface became the official tablet for the NFL, a deal that cost the tech giant a whopping $400 million through the year 2019. From the deal, Microsoft would gain considerable exposure by having its logo appear on the sides of instant replay stations, and the devices in the hands of the referees, with teams using the tablets on sidelines to analyze on-field action instead of physical photographs and diagrams.
Well on Tuesday, the league’s 32 owners voted to approve a new instant replay system using the tablet on field, for situations like reviewing challenges or rewarding unsure points. While watching the instant replay, the referees will communicate with the NFL’s officiating headquarters in New York to reach a final determination.
“We’re pleased to build on our partnership with the NFL and help lead the digital transformation of the game with yesterday’s approval of NFL referees conducting video reviews on Surface this upcoming season,” said Jeff Tran, Director of Sports Marketing and Alliances at Microsoft. “The introduction of Surface to this aspect of the game will improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and also speed up the overall review process to enhance the viewing experience for fans.”
While this isn’t a new deal or anything between the to corporations, it does expands the current use of the Surface in NFL games going forward, which is a good look after the criticism that the Surface received in the league years past.