The NFL and Microsoft, through its next generation Xbox device, are combining to upgrade interactive TV viewing of pro football games in a multiyear agreement announced Tuesday. The next step after that, perhaps as early as 2014, will be bringing technology to the sidelines on tablets.
The deal is worth $400 million over five years for the NFL, according to a person familiar with the agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because financial details have not been made public.
"When you think about the sidelines, what is most important for us is how you make the game of football better, make what the coaches and players do better, using technology but preserving the competition," said Brian Rolapp, chief operating officer of NFL Media. "The challenge is how to bring technology to make it a better experience for them and for the fans.
"You can start with how we communicate with each other, whether it's game officials or coaches. Coaches can look at formations as they develop. We'll look at how do you do the still photos better, get more into real time? Is there a more efficient way to give replay officials a way of doing reviews better through technology?"
That's for the future, albeit the not-too-distant future.
Fans will get new television viewing innovations, including the ability to watch games, Skype video chat with other fans, view statistics, access highlights in real time and gather fantasy information about players and teams -- all on a single screen. For those who prefer multiple screens, fans can get an even deeper experience on mobile devices and tablets with SmartGlass technology.