Last year, Microsoft bought its’ way into the NFL in a $400 million five-year partnership and sponsorship. This risky deal gives exclusive content to X-box One users and much exposure to “Surface” Tablets. Every team is equipped with bright blue tablets for use by coaches and players on the sidelines. With over 21 million views per week in the NFL, this deal is sure to attract many new users. Due to how big this deal is in nature, it has creating quite a bit of buzz, which can be seen as free advertising to go along with the deal. However, recently many announcers have foolishly mistaken the Microsoft Tablet as iPads which is a problem for both Microsoft and Apple.
This is problematic for Microsoft for obvious reasons- they invested $400 million just to have their brand mistaken for the leading tablet. For Apple however, this is not necessarily a good thing. The confusion in the NFL is an example of widespread trademark erosion toward the iPad throughout North America. Trademark erosion is when a trademark name is used so often that it becomes commonly used to describe a product (Microsoft tablets being called iPads even though they are bright blue), this can result in the trademark name becoming unregistered.
Prior to the season, Microsoft and the NFL struck a five-year $400 million deal with one of the major components being that the Microsoft Surface would become “the official tablet of the NFL” with coaches and players using the Surface on the sidelines during games.