So, why would you give away a piece of your business as part of a sports branding deal with a tennis player who may never hit a ball in anger again?
It's a question Castore founders Tom and Phil Beahon didn’t feel the need to answer, as they entered into a flourishing partnership with British tennis icon Andy Murray. Today, they can boast that it has already reaped stunning dividends.
The two-time Wimbledon champion would not have expected to make his first appearance in Castore clothing at a pre-Australian Open press conference in January, that preceded what he suggested could be the final match of his illustrious career against Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne. Still, fears over his future appear to have been misplaced.
After making a speedy recovery from hip surgery, Murray’s victory in the Queen’s Club's doubles event alongside Feliciano Lopez earlier this month, marked a triumphant start to his unexpected comeback.
Today, Castore's Tom Beahon gives an insight into how the partnership came to fruition in an exclusive interview with Female First.
“You could not ask for a better association to launch a clothing brand than working with someone as iconic as Andy Murray,” begins Tom, who was a fine sportsman himself and played football for Tranmere Rovers before starting Castore.
“We were looking to take Castore to the next level and wanted some major athlete partnerships. I can’t speak for Andy, but I think the idea of working with a younger brand set up by two young British brothers really resonated with him and we were delighted to get him on board.
“He shows a big interest in our business and became a shareholder as part of the deal to come into the company and we are excited about what we can do together moving forward. Having a conversation with an elite athlete and seeing his enthusiasm for our brand [and what] our plans were for the next five, ten and 15 years was exciting for us, and not normal when you are dealing with someone of his calibre.
“We took the view very simply that whether Andy ever stepped back on court again or not, he was and would always be an icon for British sport. He is one of a few handful of athletes to have have transcended his sport and become more than just a tennis player. He will resonate with sports fans for years to come; whether he comes back now and wins more Grand Slams or if he never wins another tournament.
“Clearly we are all hoping he comes back to his best both as tennis fans and for our business, but we are delighted to have Andy as part of Castore for years and years to come, whatever happens with his fitness.”
The Castore brand was given a worldwide platform that took it into millions of homes around the world thanks to Murray’s emotional and brief appearance at the Australian Open, with Beahon suggesting the impact of that appearance highlighted the pulling power of the double Olympic Gold medalist.
“The 24 hours around his match at the Australian Open were incredible,” added Liverpudlian Tom, who somehow ended up as a Manchester United fan. “The emotion he showed in the interview the day before was hard to see and then the performance he put out in the five set defeat against Roberto Bautista Agut was just amazing.
“To see him in such pain in that match was difficult to watch, but the exposure the events in Australia gave to our brand was extraordinary. You would pay a PR company a lot of money to get brand coverage and no one could have invented a story as pure as that.
“Andy wearing Castore in that press conference and on the court in that one match brought amazing exposure for our brand around the world and that is the secret of Andy, he is not just a British icon but a global icon.
“When we started Castore, the idea was to creat a premium British brand that would be a little different to the main brands we all know. They are wonderful brands that everyone has been used to for so long, but they all have a price point that means they can sell at a cheap price and maybe have not built their reputation around their quality.
“Our brand ethos is ‘Better Never Stops’ and I can’t think of any athlete in the world that epitomises that more than Andy Murray.”
Andy Murray’s Castore collection is available for purchase here - https://castore.com/uk/andy-murray
Tagged in Andy Murray