Microsoft renews Surface deal with NFL for another year

Under the deal, the NFL will continue to use Microsoft Surface tablets for referee video reviews through the end of the 2018/2019 season, SportsPro reports. Coaches and players will also continue to use Surface tablets to review footage during games.

The renewal comes just ahead of the expiration of the original 5-year deal, which was established in 2013. While that 2013 deal was valued at a reported $400 million, the price of the renewal hasn't been disclosed.

In a statement to SportsPro, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Yusuf Mehdi said:

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. We look forward to continuing the partnership next season.

While the Surface partnership hasn't been without controversy since it started its run, the NFL serves as a high-profile stage for Microsoft's hardware. It has also led to some interesting branding crossovers, first with special edition NFL Surface Type Covers, and later with custom NFL team designs for Xbox Wireless Controllers.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Which model will they be using next? SP4 or SP2017?
  • MS do whatever it takes to keep whatever contracts you have. Even if that means doing it for free!
  • They wish they were doing it for free. They had to pay the NFL $400 million for the first few years of this deal.
  • For some reason, that just reminded me that Microsoft bailed out Apple on the verge of bankruptcy in 1997 for only $150M. $400M is a lot of money. And is that in addition to providing them with free systems? If they make $500/Surface sold, that's 800,000 incremental sales (not accounting for the halo benefit to the brand and their other products). But I also agree with the comments that MS needs to do more marketing, not less, so this is probably worthwhile for them.
  • Great!... Give them boys a Surface Scribe...
    Once people see that device they will be curious about what they are, and where they can get one.
  • A what?
  • A Surface Scribe
  • A scribe writing on a Surface?
  • Mm
  • 3
  • Believe it, or not, things are going to get better for Windows fans.
  • false, unfortunately 
  • It's been 5 years already? Damn, I forgotten that they used to use iPads. Now what the refs need to do when reviewing calls is to put a mixed reality headset on instead of using a surface tablet with a crappy sun visor.
  • That sounds actually a lot better xD they do look funny now.
  • Just one more year? That's good, but not exactly the most secure position. For NFL players, a one year contract is typically a "make it or break it" season.
  • Microsoft marketing never has been smart. Advertising with the NFL has cost a lot of advertisers a lot of business. Ask Papa Johns. They cut their advertising due to a nosedives in sales because of remaining affiliated with the NFL. NFL is down to like 14% popular and is hemorrhaging money. Try catchy ads on television that people watch. Most people don't even know the NFL uses those. They see a tablet and assume iPad. Microsoft needs a marketing department. One that knows what they are doing.
  • Will satya kill it.? One more year!
  • I guess Apple wanted to get paid for letting them use ipads, so the NFL had no choice but to continue with MS. They are probably negotiating with google now to get a surface like Chromebook for next season.
  • I saw a Chromebook commercial right after Surface commercial in one of the last Sunday NFL games....
  • Just think if Microsoft would have put half the effort into advertising Windows Phone.  They'd have half the marketshare. But... as for the NFL... my family is done with them, so we don't watch any of the Surface ads.
  • Their going to make a new "Surface Take a Knee Edition" exclusively for the NFL :)
  • I thought the NFL coaches hated using the Surface tablets.
  • Some very ppor marketing by Microsoft again. One hardly sees the Surface tablets and name brand during the game. Microsoft's Marketing department should be cleared out and out sourced to a real marketing company. Yusuf Mehdi is just another IT guy above his head, just like Satya who knows nothing about creativity and wants to hide behind just his cloud-cloud tent only. Sadly, never have a IT person as the CRO of a company. MS phone should be leading if not for the dumb asses at Microsoft.
  • We need a series of articles dedicated to "Should Microsoft fire its marketing leadership".