Microsoft, NFL team up to bring virtual fans to games

New England Patriots Surface
New England Patriots Surface (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and the NFL are working together to create a virtual gameday experience.
  • Fans will appear in a Fan Mosaic displayed on screens at NFL stadiums and during game broadcasts.
  • The Fan Mosaic will also appear at the end zones of NFL stadiums after players score.

The NFL returned to action this week, but the fan experience is different this year than any previous season. Due to the global pandemic, NFL stadiums will have dramatically fewer people in attendance. To help fans still participate in the gameday, Microsoft and the NFL teamed up.

During "key games" throughout the NFL season, a feed of virtual fans will appear on stadium LED screens and game broadcasts. This feature is called a Fan Mosaic and will help deliver some fan interaction during games. Microsoft did not specificy which matchups are considered "key games."

The NBA also partnered with Microsoft to deliver a virtual fan experience. Using Microsoft Teams, NBA fans have been able to virtually attend NBA games, including some intense playoff matchups. During NBA games, fans appear on large screens surrounding the court.

The NFL and Microsoft took a somewhat similar approach to engage with fans. Select fans will be part of a virtual VIP experience that includes a Gallery View of other fans alongside two displays with live game action.

The Fan Mosaic will also appear after players score touchdowns on LED screens behind the endzones in NFL stadiums.

The NFL and Microsoft have a longstanding partnership, including NFL teams using Surface devices on the sidelines and the NFL Draft utilizing Microsoft Teams.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at