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The San Francisco 49ers (also written as the San Francisco Forty Niners) are a professional American football team based in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 49ers compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league’s National Football Conference (NFC) West division, and play their home games at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, located 38 miles (61 km) southeast of San Francisco. The team is named after the prospectors who arrived in Northern California in the 1849 Gold Rush.

The team was founded in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), and joined the NFL in 1949 when the leagues merged. The 49ers were the first major league professional sports franchise based in San Francisco, and are the 10th oldest franchise in the NFL. The team began play at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco before moving to Candlestick Park in 1971, and then to Levi’s Stadium in 2014. Since 1988, the 49ers have been headquartered in Santa Clara.

The 49ers won five Super Bowl championships between 1981 and 1994. Four of those came in the 1980s, and were led by Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, Charles Haley, Fred Dean, and coaches Bill Walsh and George Seifert. They have been division champions 21 times between 1970 and 2021, making them one of the most successful teams in NFL history. The 49ers rank fourth all-time in playoff wins (33), having been in the league playoffs 28 times (27 times in the NFL and one time in the AAFC), and have also played in the most NFC Championship games (16), hosting 10 of them, also an NFC record. The team has set numerous notable NFL records, including most consecutive away games won (18), most points scored in a single postseason (131), most consecutive seasons leading the league in scoring (4), most consecutive games scored (420 games from 1979 to 2004), most field goals in a season (44), most games won in a season (18), and most touchdowns (8) and points scored (55) in a Super Bowl.

According to Forbes, the 49ers are the sixth most-valuable team in the NFL, valued at $3.05 billion in September 2019. In 2020, they were ranked the 12th most valuable sports team in the world, behind the Los Angeles Rams and above the Chicago Bears. In 2018, the enterprise branch of the 49ers announced they bought a 15% minority ownership share in the English football club Leeds United F.C.; in 2021, this stake was increased to 44%.

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