Ahead of Benfica's International Champions Cup match at Levi's® Stadium on July 20th, ISMA (International Sports Museum Association) announced on Tuesday the San Francisco 49ers as a founding member during a formal ceremony in the 49ers Museum. The announcement makes the San Francisco 49ers the first NFL franchise and American institution to become part of the prestigious sports group dedicated to preserving and communicating the memory and the historical heritage of world sport. As one of the most storied franchises NFL history, the five-time Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers addition means the iconic 49ers Museum, located at Levi's® Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., is now an integral part of ISMA's global network.
The membership marks the first step of strategic collaboration between the two clubs with the objective of exchanging sporting, technological and business know-how. As part of these efforts, the clubs will work together to elevate youth interest around Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) and the game of soccer.
"Benfica and the 49ers share a history rich in success and sporting achievements and both clubs have a common ambition, professionalism and continuous drive to be better", stated Benfica ambassador and former captain Luisão. "I am sure this partnership will benefit us both in a variety of ways as we exchange best practices at a sporting, educational, technical and technological level. It is also with great joy that we welcome the entry of the 49ers into ISMA, as it becomes the first American club to be part of this prestigious sports group. Today's event is the first of many that will honor the heritage of these two great clubs and bring us closer together."
As part of today's announcement, more than 100 San Francisco Bay Area children had the opportunity to be exposed to Benfica's rich history through bespoke content originating from the partnership between the museums of the 49ers and the Portuguese club.
"It is an honor to team up with Portugal's most successful soccer team to not only preserve the history of sport, but to also collaborate with ISMA partners across the globe to leverage sport to inspire learning," said 49ers Museum and 49ers EDU Director Jesse Lovejoy. "We are excited to link with Benfica to provide youth across the Bay Area with opportunities to learn about the concepts of science, technology, engineering, art and math through the lens of soccer, and look forward to bringing 49ers EDU programming to Lisbon in the coming months to young Benfica fans."
ISMA is composed of museums and sports clubs with an international dimension which possess collections of great heritage. These museums believe that the preservation of sports heritage and memorabilia represents an act of protection and definition of the identity of each member.
ISMA responds to this common concern for heritage preservation by operating as a network of sports club museums, sports museums and other institutions holding sports cultural heritage, so that, together, they promote the recognition and appreciation of the cultural relevance of their history.
The following clubs and institutions are already part of ISMA: Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Portugal); Museo del Deporte Santafecino, Club Atlético River Plate and Club Atlético Boca Juniors (Argentina); Museu do Futebol, Clube de Regatas do Flamengo and Sport Club Internacional (Brazil); Museo del Grande Torino e della Leggenda Granata and Juventus Football Club (Italy); FC Bayern München and Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany); Arsenal Football Club (England); Real Madrid CF (Spain).