British tennis player Andy Murray has launched a new kit partnership with premium British sportswear brand Castore.
Under the long-term deal, Murray will continue to wear Castore both on and off the court, and will also become a shareholder in Castore and an advisor to the board.
SportBusiness Sponsorship can exclusively confirm that the kit partnership will run at least five years, and that Murray will remain a Castore shareholder indefinitely.
Murray said: “Normally in a brand-athlete partnership, you get paid to wear the kit on court and take some photos, but this is something quite different.
“I’m going to have some equity in the business, so it’s something that I know I’ll have a big involvement in even when I finish playing.”
Murray’s future plans with Castore include collaborative product development and a joint range of tennis technical apparel.
Murray first wore Castore for the Australian Open in January, but he first met with Castore co-founders Phil Beahon, 26, and Tom Beahon, 29, at Wimbledon last year, when they were introduced by Murray’s physical trainer Matt Little.
Tom Beahon told SportBusiness Sponsorship: “It was very important, both to us and Andy, for him to not only share our vision for Castore, but equally to share our incentive to be financially rewarded as the business grows.
“So I think that’s very different from traditional deals where a brand pays an athlete to wear the kit, and then there’s nothing further than that.
“The key point for us is that we see value in Andy both as a player and as part of the business after he retires, whether that’s in two, three or five years from now.
“Post-retirement, he will become more involved in product testing and product development side of things, and critically for me, Andy is very passionate about the development of the next generation of British athletes.”
Castore was founded in 2015 after Tom and Phil Beahon decided to ditch professional sport for the apparel business. Previously, the brothers players at Liverpool, Manchester United and Tranmere Rovers in the academy teams.
Tom Beahon said: “We started the business when we saw a clear gap in the market for a premium challenger to the global brands that dominate the sportswear space.
“Our idea was to differentiate Castore to those big brands through the use of advanced engineering, technical innovation and very simply to create superior quality garments that help make athletes better, help improve athletic performance.
“So right from day one, our ambition was to build a British brand that competed on the global stage.”
The brand has grown rapidly since launching in 2015, and now sells to over 40 countries worldwide through direct business-to-consumer platform online.
The UK is Castore’s largest market, and its fastest-growing market is the US.
As of this year – partly due to the Murray’s wearing Castore at the Australian Open – sales in Asia-Pacific have increased dramatically, and now make up around 30 per cent of total revenue.
Last year, a group of investors including former Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Robert Senior and Net-A-Porter investor Arnaud Massenet invested £3.2m (€3.7m/$4.2m) in the business. And in 2017, Castore received £1.2m in funding from a group of investors including New Look founder Tom Singh.
In January this year, both brothers were named on the Forbe’s 30 Under 30 list for retail and e-commerce in Europe.