NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Microsoft (MSFT) really wants you to know that it's Surface tablets are the "official tablets of the NFL," as the league takes another step towards embracing technology.
Shown for the first time during last nights' Hall of Fame game between the NY Giants and the Buffalo Bills, it is a huge opportunity for Microsoft to get a lot of TV airtime showing the devices actually being used to do something fans can relate to. It's also a way to keep Apple (AAPL) iPads and Google (GOOG) Android devices away from television cameras, with Sterne Agee analyst Robert Breeza noting it's a positive for Microsoft. "Any press is good press," Breeza said in a phone interview.
Microsoft shares were gaining 0.68% to $43.15 in midday trading in New York.
While Microsoft didn't release actual sales numbers when it reported quarterly earnings last month, it did say Surface devices accounted for $409 million in revenues in the quarter. Apple generated $5.589 billion in iPad revenue last quarter, as it shipped 13.28 million units.
The five-year deal was announced by former CEO Steve Ballmer and the league back in May, 2013, and at the time it was thought to be worth upwards of $400 million. Microsoft and the NFL agreed to bring interactive game viewing to the Xbox One, as well as the ability for teams to use Microsoft tablets. Players and coaches have previously been using cameras printers and Polaroids to review plays and tweak formations.
These NFL Surface devices have been specially designed to perform one task - view game photos. No email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, eBay allowed, and they will not be used to watch other NFL games, nor will they be able to access the Internet. Each tablet is physically protected by a big blue rubber bumper cover which makes them a bit heftier than what the average buyer would find in a retail store.