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Berkeley, CA â€“ As manufacturers of premium sports nutrition products, GU has a natural affinity for all great athletes, no matter what their game. Gene Upshaw, one of the greatest leaders in NFL history, passed away August 20th at the age of 63. The NFL’s league-wide jersey memorial patch reads, â€œGU 63,â€ which not only honors Gene Upsha w, but also has led to an unexpected meeting between the world of endurance sports and professi onal football.
The company has seen a significant spike in internet traffic to their website and fielded numerous letters and phone calls regarding what is perceived to be a sponsorship of the NFL by GU Energy Gel.
â€œOur hearts go out to Mr. Upshaw’s family and his passing is certainly a loss for the NFL — and especially the NFL Player’s Association,â€ said Holly Bennett, GU’s senior marketing manager.
In regards to the increased attention to GU, Bennett noted, â€œThe attention is of course entirely unsolicited. Our web visitors are likely a combination of bewildered core GU users checking to see if we’ve suddenly invested an enormous marketing budget in football and just mass queries about what the ever-present GU patch is doing on all fields and all players.â€
Web traffic to GU’s website, www.GUenergy.com, increased ten-fold on Sunday, September 7th, the NFL’s opening day and the unveiling of the memorial jersey patch. The site has seen a steady stream of visitors ever since. Regardless of the increased attention paid to the company, managers there say they are nonplussed by the inadvertent association.
â€œJust for the record,â€ said Bennett, â€œWe don’t have a sponsor relationship with the NFL. Olympic runners like Magdelena Lewy Boulet and triathlon champions such as Craig Alexander and Michellie Jones are the focus of our sponsor support. While we’re certainly not averse to sharing GU with football players, our intention is not to capitalize on the tragic death of a Hall of Famer. We have posted a message on our website to clarify the situation for curious â€˜GU 63′ Googlers.â€
â€œMost of all, we would like to share our deepest condolences with Gene Upshaw’s family, friends and colleagues,â€ Bennett said.