Microsoft has scored a touchdown.
The company announced a deal with the NFL, worth around $400 million over the next five years, to develop technology that will make watching football more interactive for fans who use the Xbox One videogame console and other Microsoft devices that feature Xbox Live.
Partnership is the latest digital step forward for the NFL as it looks to enhance its live broadcasts, the way it deployed the use of a digital yellow first down line during games.
The deal, announced Tuesday during Microsoft’s unveiling of its next-generation Xbox One console, in Redmond, Wash., will include letting viewers split their screen to access stats, their fantasy football team info, highlights and Skype with fans during game broadcasts and send additional data to mobile devices and tablets with the second-screen SmartGlass technology.
The NFL is also considering outfitting its coaches and referees with Microsoft’s Surface tablets to monitor formations or replays during games from the sidelines.
As part of that move, Microsoft will gain considerable exposure by having its logo appear on the sides of instant replay stations, and the devices in the hands of the referees, starting this season.
Financial terms of the pact were not publicly disclosed but the overall fee was confirmed by sources close to the negotiations.
The NFL must still discuss just how much exposure Microsoft will get and make recommendations to team owners in the coming year.
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