You’ll be able to see how far and how fast some NFL players run during games this season on Microsoft’s NFL app for Xbox One, Surface, and Windows.
The Redmond company is including a new feature called “Next Gen Stats” on its app that takes data from RFID chips worn by NFL players, who will embed small devices made by Zebra in their shoulder pads during games. Zebra also installed other devices around each NFL stadium that communicate with the RFID chips.
Fans will be able to track player speed (MPH) and total distance run from video highlights of certain plays via “Next Gen Stats,” which will be formatted as you see in the screenshot above.
The NFL has used these stats for internal use and in a few TV broadcasts, including last year’s Pro Bowl, but this is the first time fans have been able to access the data elsewhere.
With the new “Next-Gen Stats,” Microsoft is also debuting a new skills game competition called NGS Pick’em, which challenges users to predict these new stats from recorded highlights and replays. Prizes include tickets to Super Bowl 50.
Microsoft also added new fantasy football integration with its Xbox One app — now those with teams on CBS and Yahoo can see their stats on Microsoft’s NFL Xbox One app, not just NFL.com like past years.
The app will be released later this month, and will be available on Windows 10. It also includes a new game-day notification feature and a new replay function where fans can watch replays from multiple angles from key plays.
In related news, new Surface Pro 3 tablets will be used this season by coaches and players on the sidelines, replacing the Surface Pro 2 tablets from last year. New video replay sent to the tablets are being also being tested this preseason, which starts next week. CNET notes that Microsoft is already thinking about how to incorporate its HoloLens augmented reality headset into NFL games.
Microsoft inked a $400 million, five-year contract with the NFL in 2013.