By Barry Janoff
May 21, 2013: Microsoft Corp. scored its second major sports alliance in as many days, unveiling what was called a multi-year "landmark partnership" with the NFL.
According to Microsoft and the league, the alliance would "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."
Industry analysts valued the deal at $400 million.
The NFL deal comes on the heels of a multiyear deal between Microsoft Corp. and Major League Soccer, with that pact being driven by Windows 8 featuring exclusive content, highlights, play-by-play, roster lineups, game stats, goals and club news.
The deal with the NFL makes Microsoft the "official sideline technology sponsor" of the NFL, names Surface by Microsoft and Windows as "the "official tablet and PC operating system" of the NFL and makes Xbox, which currently is the"official game console" of the league also the "official interactive video entertainment console."
According to Microsoft, this deal "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 said they envision a future with players reviewing in-game photos from different camera angles and head coaches calling plays off connected Surface tablets right on the sidelines.
"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," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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."
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