The mission of the San Francisco Bowl Game Association is to present a high-quality post-season college football game that will provide a memorable experience for the participating schools, protect the welfare of the student-athletes, promote tourism and positive economic impact for the city of San Francisco, and contribute to deserving non-profit organizations in the Bay Area.
The San Francisco Bowl Game Association is the not-for-profit driving force behind the annual college football bowl game that will move in 2014 to Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, after playing its first 12 games at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The game, now in its 13th season, was co-founded in 2002 by Gary Cavalli, the only Executive Director in the contest’s history, Pat Gallagher, the now-retired 30-year executive with the Giants, and John Marks, the now-retired longtime President of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Bowl has quickly gained a reputation for creating attractive team matchups, providing outstanding hospitality to participating schools, generating strong TV ratings, and attracting sellout crowds (including four sellouts). It has played host to several of college football’s best known programs, including past national champions USC, Florida State and Miami, plus UCLA, Washington, California, Navy, BYU, Arizona State, Oregon State and Utah, among others.
The game was played initially as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl (2002-03) before being renamed the Emerald Bowl (2004-09), the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (2010-2012), and the Fight Hunger Bowl (2013).
The Bowl is governed by the San Francisco Bowl Game Association’s 15-member Board of Directors, comprised mainly of Bay Area business and community leaders. Game co-founder John Marks was the first Board Chairman, serving from 2002-06. He was succeeded by venture capital executive Ron Kovas, who led the Board from 2007-11. In February of 2012, San Francisco advertising executive Jack Boland was unanimously elected as the current chairman.
The game, originally conceived as a tourism traffic builder for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, has been a financial boon to the City and County of San Francisco. According to figures released by San Francisco Travel [formerly the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau], the game and week-long events surrounding it have generated over $140 million in direct economic benefit to greater San Francisco.
In 2010 the Bowl became the first post-season game directly associated with a social cause: that of eradicating hunger in the United States. Over the next four years, the game donated more than 330,000 meals to its partner organizations - Glide Memorial Church, St. Anthony’s Dining Room and the San Francisco Food Bank - to feed needy families in the Bay Area.
The 2014 game at Levi's Stadium will match top-level teams from two of the premier conferences in college football, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten.