Glenda Swain Jan 23, 2014

Microsoft Gets in The Game With Seahawks Partnerships

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Seahawks | Bing PartnershipOf course the Seattle Seahawks’ winning season is great for the Seahawks brand. But it’s also been a boon to another big hometown name: Microsoft Corp.

The globe-spanning software behemoth obviously is a brand already known to the vast majority of football fans.

However, two of its newer consumer products might not be as familiar: Surface, Microsoft’s first branded tablet, launched last year, that has a minuscule market share against the iPad and other tablets; and the Bing search engine, which is slowly gaining search share, but still lags far behind market-dominating Google.

Hence, partnerships such as Bing’s sponsorship of Seahawks training camp, and a multi-year deal, announced last year, that makes Surface the official tablet of the NFL. (That same deal also made Microsoft’s new Xbox One the NFL’s official game console.)

The NFL deal “puts Surface front and center in front of one of the biggest, most rabid audiences in the world,” said Brian Seitz, senior marketing manager for Surface.

Evidence of the partnerships has been apparent all season and during the NFL playoffs. During training, Seahawks players wore practice jerseys displaying the Bing logo. Bing representatives have held “Bing It On” challenges before games, including at Touchdown City, the interactive activities center at CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle.

The challenge asks passers-by to test whether they prefer Bing or Google for their searches. Along with the BingHawks hashtag, the Bing team has created an “I’m In” website where fans from around the world can express their support of the Seahawks.

The Seahawks Radio Network is also now branded as the Bing Radio Network, with games and pre- and post-game shows broadcast locally.Microsoft’s Xbox has been the Seahawks’ official gaming and entertainment console for about 10 years, with a partnership that includes in-stadium displays of the Xbox brand and player appearances at Xbox events.

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