The 49ers were one of 18 NFL teams detailed Wednesday to have accepted marketing money from the Department of Defense in what a government oversight report called “paid patriotism.”
The 145-page report concluded the Department of Defense has spent $6.8 million on sports marketing contracts since the 2012 fiscal year, according to Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.
In addition to 18 NFL clubs, there were 10 teams in Major League Baseball, eight in the NBA, six NHL teams and eight soccer teams, as well as NASCAR and others, that received money from the Department of Defense, according to the report entitled, "Tackling Paid Patriotism."
The 49ers received $125,000 from the California Army National Guard in 2014 in an agreement the team described as a partnership similar to all their other marketing and sponsorship deals.
“As a member of the NFL, the 49ers have a long history of honoring the military,” the 49ers said in a statement to CSNBayArea.com. “We are doing so this week with the fifth annual Salute to Service campaign, which honors and supports veterans, active-duty servicemen and women and their families.
“Per the McCain-Flake report, we had a marketing partnership in 2014 with the California Army National Guard that provided them with tickets to 49ers home games for use as event giveaways, online contests and VIP hospitality to aid their recruitment efforts. Their sponsorship also included use of the 49ers facility for a private event. The 49ers have never accepted or requested payment from the Department of Defense or any branch of the military for on-field patriotic acknowledgments or activities.”
The report described the event at the team’s facility as a National Guard conference, a swearing-in ceremony, a symposium, party or gala for up to 200 individuals. The payment also included four upper-level tickets to every preseason and regular season game.
The Atlanta Falcons were the top recipients, getting $879,000 over four years, according to the report. Over the same period, the New England Patriots received $700,000 and the Buffalo Bills $650,000.
The 49ers and NFL say they are not being financially compensated for the league’s “Salute to Service” in honor of Military Appreciation month. The 49ers will honor military during Sunday’s game against the Falcons at Levi's Stadium.
According to the 49ers, these are the military-related activities this weekend:
--The 49ers will host a stadium fund-raising drive from 10:30 a.m. to kickoff for Homes for Our Troops, which builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans Post-September 11, to enable them to rebuild their lives.
---In honor of Military Appreciation month, 150 Service Men and Women from Operation Care & Comfort will participate in the pregame American Flag presentation and halftime concert on the field.
---A special game ball will be delivered by Sgt. Dylan Gray, a double amputee that lost both his leg while serving overseas, prior to kick-off
--- Peter Schabarum, who played for the San Francisco 49ers during the 1953/1954 season and served as a US Air Force fighter pilot during the Korean War in 1951, will activate the foghorn before the game.
---Hometown Heroes will recognize U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Matt Yandura on the video board during the fifth timeout of the first quarter in recognition of his military service.
---At halftime, a decorated member of each of the six military branches (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, US Coast Guard and National Guard) will be honored on the videoboard from different locations within Levi’s Stadium.
---Players will be donning helmet stickers to honor various branches of the military. Coaches and others on the sidelines will have Salute to Service-themed officially licensed apparel.