Microsoft lands NFL partnership

Microsoft is clearly determined to sew up some of the best content for the Xbox One: it just revealed a special, multi-year partnership with the NFL. The two are working on an optimized experience that better integrates fantasy football, including score displays, onscreen updates and Skype. They also promise exclusive content, naturally, including a lock on translating many of these experiences to tablets. The partnership will extend to the real arenas, too -- among other technologies, Microsoft will bring Surface tablets to coaches and players to improve their communication and play calling. There aren't many more details so far, but it's evident that Microsoft wants to cater to football fans with a lot more than just its existing ESPN app.

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Microsoft and National Football League announce multiyear landmark partnership to enhance the game for fans, players and coaches

May 21, 2013

Introduction of Interactive NFL Experience on Xbox and Surface technology on NFL sidelines to shape the future of football - in the living room and on the field.

REDMOND, Wash. - May 21, 2013 - Microsoft Corp. and the National Football League (NFL) today announced a multiyear, landmark partnership that will deliver truly unique interactive NFL television experiences for the next-generation Xbox One and leverage Microsoft devices and services to evolve the in-game, sideline experience for coaches, players and other personnel.

"We love the passion that players, coaches and fans bring to the NFL game; it's what makes the NFL game-day experience so unique," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. "We're excited to apply our passion for technology to the NFL experience, both on the sidelines through the innovative use of Microsoft Surface devices, and for fans through an enhanced NFL viewing experience on Xbox One."

The agreement provides Microsoft with the rights to create exclusive interactive experiences through products such as Xbox One and Surface, transforming the way fans will experience the NFL in the years to come. The NFL on Xbox will provide fans with an all-new viewing experience through innovations around Skype and Xbox SmartGlass; an all-new, innovative fantasy football solution allowing fans to view players and live competition side by side on a single TV screen; and a personalized NFL destination featuring information about the players, teams and games fans care about most. Xbox also retains the exclusive rights to extend these interactive experiences to tablets, enabling fans to use Xbox SmartGlass technology to enhance game day.

"When we started working with Roger Goodell and the team at the NFL we knew that we could create great new experiences that fans would love," said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. "This partnership will redefine NFL experiences through exclusive and interactive content that you will find only on Xbox. For fans, the NFL on Xbox will provide the most complete way to enjoy live football by bringing the first fully-integrated fantasy football experience to the TV, exclusively through Xbox."

This partnership also changes the game for NFL teams because coaches and players will soon have access to a variety of cutting-edge Microsoft solutions, including Surface tablets to enhance on-field communications, photo viewing and play calling. Microsoft and the NFL 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. With Microsoft technology, NFL coaches, players and other personnel will have the technology they need to improve decision-making and on-field performance.

"From the use of instant replay to the yellow first-down line that has become an important element of the at-home television viewing experience, the NFL is committed to leveraging technology to improve our game for coaches, players and fans," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We're thrilled to be teaming with a true innovator like Microsoft to shape the future of the NFL game experience, both on-field and in the living room."

As part of the partnership, Surface by Microsoft branding will appear on NFL sidelines in unique ways, including on the hoods of the official on-field NFL instant replay stations. As part of the relationship, Microsoft will be granted the following designations:

• Xbox remains "The Official Game Console of the NFL" and will also become "The Official Interactive Video Entertainment Console."

• Microsoft is "The Official Sideline Technology Sponsor of the NFL."

• Surface by Microsoft and Windows are "The Official Tablet and PC Operating System of the NFL."

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