Continuing Bay Area holiday traditions of postseason college football and fighting hunger within the community, the San Francisco 49ers today announced that the organization has taken over management of the Foster Farms Bowl from the San Francisco Bowl Game Association (SFBGA). The 49ers ensured the future of the annual bowl game to be played at Levi's Stadium by signing a four-year broadcast partnership with FOX Sports to televise the game.
The 2016 Foster Farms Bowl will mark the 15th anniversary of the Bay Area's college football bowl game, which annually features teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten Conferences. Levi's Stadium will host the matchup on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016, with a 5:30 p.m. PT kickoff on the FOX broadcast network, marking the first time in its history that the game will air on network television. The game will also be simulcast in Spanish on FOX Deportes.
In assuming management of the game, the 49ers have named Jamie Brandt as Executive Director of the Foster Farms Bowl. Brandt is in his ninth year with the 49ers as the organization's Vice President of Ticketing and Premium Services. The San Francisco Bowl Game was founded by the SFBGA in 2002 and managed under the leadership of Executive Director, Gary Cavalli and Associate Executive Director, Ryan Oppelt. Cavalli retired after the 2015 game while Oppelt will continue to serve in the same capacity with the Foster Farms Bowl. Community service to combat hunger among the underserved in the Bay Area during the holidays will continue to be a major component of the Foster Farms Bowl.
"The 49ers organization champions the development of football at all levels and we are honored to help support the storied history of Bay Area college football by presenting the Foster Farms Bowl annually at Levi's Stadium," said Brandt. "Backed by our tremendous partners at the Pac-12, the Big Ten, FOX Sports and Foster Farms, we look forward to celebrating the importance of amateur athletics while continuing our ongoing efforts to aid those in our community who are in need."
Title sponsor Foster Farms returns for the third consecutive year of affiliation with the event and will play a lead role in the event's community engagement platform.
"Foster Farms is delighted to continue supporting the Bowl game," said Foster Farms Vice President of Sales Jonathan Foster. "Our support of this event extends beyond football – we are committed to continuing this game's tradition of supporting the fight against hunger."
As in previous years, a day of community service by the players and coaches of the participating teams will be a featured component of their visit to the Bay Area. This year the representatives from the Pac-12 and Big Ten will serve meals to those in need at GLIDE and St. Anthony's in San Francisco on Christmas Day.
The Foster Farms Bowl will continue to match the third selection from the Pac-12 (outside of the College Football Playoff group) versus a top team from the Big Ten.
"The Pac-12 Conference is excited to see that the Foster Farms Bowl will be operated under the capable management of the San Francisco 49ers organization and is confident the Foster Farms Bowl will continue to provide the student-athletes with a memorable postseason experience in the San Francisco Bay Area," said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. "We look forward to our ongoing relationship with the San Francisco 49ers, Levi's Stadium, and the Big Ten Conference as we provide fans of college football a quality matchup between the conference's top teams."
"We are excited to continue our partnership with the Foster Farms Bowl and look forward to the new leadership provided by the San Francisco 49ers," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "Through the competition with our long-time partners at the Pac-12 Conference, this bowl game continues to provide memorable experiences for both our member institutions and our alums. It remains a significant and important part of our robust national bowl lineup."
Since its inception in 2002, the Bowl game has been an annual fixture on the Bay Area's sporting landscape. The contest was co-founded by Cavalli, along with then San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau President John Marks; and former San Francisco Giants Executive, Pat Gallagher. The Bowl and the Pac-12 initially aligned in 2006, when UCLA played Florida State in the first-ever pairing of the two storied programs. The Big Ten conference affiliation officially began in 2014, although a total of three different Big Ten teams have participated in the game – Nebraska, Maryland and Illinois. The game was originally known as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl [2002-2003], and later the Emerald Bowl [2004-2009], the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl [2010-2012] and the Fight Hunger Bowl .
The Foster Farms Bowl will serve as the showcase event of the ongoing commitment by the 49ers to celebrate amateur football at all levels, namely youth football, high school football and college football. In this role, the 49ers will continue to host the Bay Area College Football Media Day with coaches and players from Cal, San Jose State and Stanford just prior to the start of the college football season, taking place this year on Thursday, July 28th. Levi's Stadium is also set to host its third consecutive Pac-12 Football Championship Game on December 2nd, 2016, and was selected to host the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on January 7, 2019.
Levi's Stadium will continue to serve as the host venue for annual high school events such as the Bay Area High School Football Media Day on July 13th, the 43rd annual Charlie Wedemeyer All-Star Football Game on July 16th, and the 3rd annual Friday Night Lights presented by Black Bear Diner football double-header later this fall.
The team's commitment to youth sports is highlighted by the 49ers Youth Football Program which gives kids from ages 5-18 the opportunity to experience football through a multitude of diverse programs, all aimed at creating young, healthy leaders on and off the field. The 49ers host these programs year-round throughout the Bay Area and during the offseason they hit the road to areas not affiliated with specific NFL teams, such as Hawaii in 2015 and Oregon in 2016. In 2015 alone, the 49ers Youth Football Program directly impacted more than 26,000 youth and hosted 180 events in partnership with the NFL's "Play 60" initiative, which encourages children to get outside and play for 60 minutes each day.
Tickets for the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl will go on sale on a date to be announced soon at FosterFarmsBowl.com.