By Martha Madigan

Tonight’s preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans is less notable for who’s playing than how fans can watch it.

It’s the first NFL game shown exclusively on a streaming network, Amazon Prime Video, which marks the league’s most definitive step into the future of media.

Amazon holds exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts for $1 billion per season until 2033.

The company struck a deal with DirecTV to allow games to be played in bars and restaurants. The games will also be available on each team’s local broadcast.

Veteran broadcasters Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit will call Amazon’s games.

Amazon offers a host of features to augment the games, including alternate broadcasts, unlimited DVR recording, and “X-Ray” technology providing on-screen information on players and teams.

In July, streaming services hit a long-anticipated milestone, surpassing cable in total TV consumption, per Nielsen’s data. Streaming accounted for 34.8% of all TV consumed, compared to 34.4% for cable. Broadcast television fell to 21.6%, with 9.2% from other sources.

Netflix had the largest share among streaming platforms, with 7.7% of all TV consumption, followed by YouTube (7.3%), Amazon (3%), and Disney+ (1.8%).

The NFL is looking for a streaming partner for its next rights agreement for NFL Sunday Ticket, for which it is seeking $2.5 billion annually.

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