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 played at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
The game, now in its 11th 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.
In its first 10 years, the Bowl quickly gained a reputation for providing outstanding hospitality to participating teams, generating strong TV ratings, and attracting sellout crowds (four in the last six years). It has played host to several of college football’s best known programs, including past national champions USC, Florida State and Miami, plus California, UCLA, Boston College, Illinois 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]. Kraft Foods became the game’s title sponsor in 2010 and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl was christened that same year. Based in Northfield, IL, Kraft Foods is a global snacks conglomerate that markets an unrivaled portfolio of brands in approximately 170 countries worldwide.
The Bowl is governed by the San Francisco Bowl Game Association’s 17-member Board of Directors, comprised mainly of Bay Area business executives and community leaders. Game co-founder John Marks was the first Board Chairman, serving from 2002-06. He was succeeded by Ron Kovas, a venture capital executive, who led the Board from 2007-11. In February of 2012, San Francisco advertising executive Jack Boland was unanimously elected as the current Bowl 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 nearly $130 million in direct economic benefit to greater San Francisco.
The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is the lone contest in the 35-game bowl lineup to directly associate itself with a social cause: that of eradicating hunger in the United States. As part of its nationwide “Huddle To Fight Hunger” campaign, Kraft Foods over the past two years has donated more than 45 million meals to those in need in conjunction with the company’s longtime partner, Feeding America.
On the local level, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl organization contributed additional meals – one for every game ticket–to its three partner organizations: Glide Memorial Church, St. Anthony’s Dining Room and the San Francisco Food Bank. Over the past two years this has translated to more than 200,000 meals for needy families in the Bay Area.
The 2012 game, set for December 29th, will match Navy [provided the Midshipmen meet or exceed six total victories] against the sixth selection from bowl-eligible Pac-12 schools. Navy played in the 2004 game, defeating New Mexico.