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The NFL doesn’t know what a Surface tablet is, but that’s OK

The NFL doesn’t know what a Surface tablet is, but that’s OK
  • On October 13, 2014

If you’ve been following football season this year, you might have noticed that all the NFL sportscasters and announcers are fiddling around with Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. The only problem is that they may not even realize that the Microsoft Surface Pro is “the official tablet of the NFL.”

During a recent Monday Night Football game, ESPN’s Trent Dilfer made a joke about how difficult it was to “learn how to use the iPad to scroll through pictures.” Except, the device being used was not an iPad; It was a Surface.

Later on a separate occasion, New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees was using a Surface tablet on the sidelines. One of the commentators noted that Brees “was not watching movies on his iPad.”


Microsoft and the NFL have partnered up to promote both the league and the Surface with a $400 million dollar, five-year deal. But if the NFL can’t keep their end of the deal, did Microsoft just waste $400 million dollars promoting their “iPad-like devices”?

Not likely.

Microsoft has started “coaching” the NFL’s sportscasters, so that they can better identify the devices that they have to use during the games.

“That coaching will continue to ensure our partners are well equipped to discuss Surface when the camera pans to players using the device during games,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Business Insider.

That means that Microsoft is doing everything in its power to make use of its time on camera. Even with less than stellar sales. Is the Microsoft Surface tablet in trouble?

Last week, Microsoft shot down rumors that the Surface brand was going away. In its blog, Microsoft highlighted the names of companies that have been purchasing Surface tablets. Big name customers like BMW, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton and more recently, Lotus F1 Team.

Microsoft Surface blog

Microsoft Surface blog

So, even though Microsoft is paying the NFL to  use its Surface tablet, it’s OK that the NFL doesn’t even know what a Surface tablet is. Microsoft is losing millions on product placement ads for its “iPad-like device,” but don’t worry guys, other companies are using Surface tablets, too.

Maybe if Microsoft just waited for “good karma,” its sales for Surface tablets would increase.

  • Ciara Rouege

    I didn’t know the Surface was the official tablet of the NFL! I’m not an Apple fan, so this news makes me super excited. Branding is so critical in any industry—especially tech. The story was a breeze to read. You’ve made it “chewable” for a wide variety of audience. I’m still waiting for a hardcore opinion piece. You’re great at introducing topics in a manner that sparks conversation—which is a key element of hard news.
    But I’m not sure whether you’re so good at supporting your argument, I’m easily persuaded to accept it as truth; or you’re coasting on the edge of opinion without actually jumping off. I enjoyed your quirk at Nadella in the closing. I’m curious as to what you’re opinion is on that. Do you think his apology was sincere? Do you think he even wrote the letter?

    • tronnic

      Thanks so much for the feedback! I really should jump off the edge with opinion. Coming from a newspaper background, I tend to stick to objectivity. I realize that having a column sort of contradicts that. I’ll get better at inserting my opinions.

    • tronnic

      I think Nadella simply goofed on the question. He is the first CEO of a huge tech company to even entertain coming to this conference. He obviously thinks women in the tech industry are important. He apologized on Twitter immediately afterward, but I am not certain whether the PR that came later was all him.

  • Kara Kamicione

    Very interesting post Michelle:) This is my first time actually stopping by your page…it’s VERY nice and your info is very informative. I think it’s interesting how Microsoft would be okay with the NFL not knowing more about the product. If you are going to promote a product, shouldn’t you learn all that you can about it? If sportscasters are going to be using this device, they need to be more comfortable with it especially if money us being invested in it. Great blog post!

    • tronnic

      Thanks for reading Kara!

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