SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Over the past week, you may have noticed lots of people roaming the streets of San Francisco in either purple or blue.
That’s because players, coaches, family and fans of both the Washington Huskies and BYU Cougars are in town for the annual Fight Hunger Bowl, held Friday night at AT&T Park.
The college football bowl game has been held in San Francisco since 2002 and this year’s contest will pit two eight win teams, both featuring high-powered offenses.
Fans don’t only travel out to San Francisco for the game – many make it a weeklong stay in the Bay Area. Husky fan Gary expressed his excitement at this week’s pep rally. “To have a good game, I’m hoping for a good game,” he said.
Wade, whose son plays for the BYU squad, said he is loving his San Francisco experience. “I’ve been here before on business, but I think this might be my first trip for pleasure,” he said. “This is chamber of commerce weather certainly.”
Fight Hunger Bowl Executive Director Gary Cavalli said it’s not just all about football and fun for the fans – the game is also about helping a worthy cause.
“A lot of people don’t realize that 1 in 6 Americans go to bed hungry every night. And between calling attention to it and making a donation of one meal for every ticket sold to the game, we think we’re making an impact,” Cavalli said.
Cavalli said that over the years, they have donated more than 300,000 meals to Glide Church, St. Anthony’s and the San Francisco Food Bank. And organizers said starting next year, they will be in a position to do more, as the game will be moving from AT&T Park to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
“Now we’re playing in what is arguably going to be the best football stadium in the world,” Cavalli said.
The 2014 game will feature teams from the Pac-12 Conference and Big Ten Conference, an agreement that is in place for the next six years, and which will give the game a bit of a higher profile.
The 49ers new stadium can also accommodate larger crowds, with seats for 68,500 fans, where AT&T Park oftentimes didn’t translate to football and could only accommodate over 40,000 fans.
Despite the move to the South Bay, Cavalli said the bowl game will always have a place in San Francisco. “We’re going to keep our roots here in San Francisco,” he said. “Both teams will continue to stay in downtown San Francisco hotels and we will continue to fight hunger.”
It’s estimated that the bowl game and a week’s worth of events surrounding it have generated nearly $130 million in direct economic benefit.
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