The San Francisco 49ers are a professional American football team located in the San Francisco Bay Area. They compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The team currently plays its home games at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, located 45 miles (72 km) southeast of San Francisco in the heart of Silicon Valley. Since 1988, the 49ers have been headquartered in Santa Clara.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. The name "49ers" comes from the prospectors who arrived in Northern California in the 1849 Gold Rush. The team is legally and corporately registered as the San Francisco Forty Niners. The team began play at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco before moving across town to Candlestick Park in 1970 and then to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara in 2014.
The 49ers won five Super Bowl championships between 1981 and 1995, led by Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, and coach Bill Walsh. As of 2017, the team has won six conference championships, with the first in 1981 and the last in 2012. They have been division champions 19 times between 1970 and 2012 winning nearly back to back games during the late 80s and early 90s, making them one of the most successful teams in NFL history. The 49ers have been in the league playoffs 26 times: 25 times in the NFL and one time in the AAFC.
The team has set numerous notable NFL records, including most consecutive road games won (18), most consecutive seasons leading league scoring (1992–95), most consecutive games scored (1979 to 2004), most field goals in a season (44), fewest turn-overs in a season (10), and most touchdowns in a Super Bowl. According to Forbes Magazine, the team is the 4th most-valuable team in the NFL, valued at $3 billion in July 2016. In 2016, the 49ers were ranked the 10th most valuable sports team in the world, behind basketball's Los Angeles Lakers and above soccer's Bayern Munich.