game changers | 

Story behind the Castore brand now producing Ireland’s kit

Liverpool brothers have created a mega-money brand after partnership with tennis star Andy Murray

Tennis star Andy Murray with Castore creators Tom and Phil Beahon

Kevin PalmerSunday World

When Liverpudlian brothers Phil and Tom Beahon founded the Castore clothing range in 2015, their first high-profile hire proved to be a moment of inspiration.

Signing over a chunk of their new company to British tennis star Andy Murray was something of a gamble, as there was a real chance the two-time Wimbledon champion may never hit a ball in anger again as he battled a debilitating hip problem.

His first appearance in Castore clothing was at a press conference at prior to the 2019 Australian Open, when he broke down in tears and conceded his career was coming to an end.

He went on to lose an epic five set match against Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut and received what appeared to be a emotional send-off from his peers, with an emotional on-court interview including a video tribute to the Scot from the great and good of the game.

Signing a deal with a sportsman who was heading into retirement could have reaped minimal rewards for the Beahon brothers in their bid to get Castore the attention it craved, but their punt paid off.

Murray's gritty recovery from hip surgery was highlighted in an Amazon Prime documentary that attracted huge viewing figures and his return to the court in Castore clothing also brought global attention on the elite brand.

Four years on from Murray's aborted retirement and the clothing brand he backed in its infancy boasts reported value of $750million, with the deal they have signed with the FAI to make Ireland's kit adding to an impressive collection of deals with high-profile clubs and sports stars.

Rangers, Aston Villa and Newcastle are among the football clubs on their client list, the England and West Indies cricket team are also having kits supplied by Castore and Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing also have a deal with the company.

Ireland's kit deal takes Castore onto the international football stage and in an exclusive interview with, Tom Beahon suggests the deal with Murray proved to the a masterstroke that put Castore on the map.

"You could not ask for a better association to launch a clothing brand than working with someone's iconic as Andy Murray," began 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 are for the next five, ten and 15 years was exciting for us. It's 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 handful of athletes to have transcended his sport and become more than just a tennis player.

"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."

Beahon went on to outline his vision to the business which has gathered impressive momentum over the last five years.

"Castore started as a brand that would attract people who go to the gym or like to go running, but we always had the intention of launching sport-specific categories within the business," he stated.

"When we started Castore, the idea was to create a premium alternative to the brands that dominate the market, like Nike and Adidas. 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.

"There haven't been too many apparel companies coming into the market doing new and exciting things in tennis and golf and we wanted to change that and shake things up.

"The mass market global brands have dominated that market and we saw that as a great opportunity for Castore to step in a bring something new.

"We felt there was a big market for customers who are willing to spend a bit more for a quality product. There are places where you can buy cheap tops and after a few washes, they lose their shape and you buy a new one.

"What we offer is a different type of quality and there are a lot of people who are willing to pay a little more for a product that looks nicer, feels nice, performs better and lasts longer.

"There is always risk in everything you do in business, but we launched the brand at exactly the right time as there was no direct competitor for higher quality sports apparel.

"We launched as a digital first brand initially and that worked well for us as we could attract customers in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong as well as customers in south London. That is the way the modern world works now."

The FAI associated themselves with a winning brand when they signed a deal with Castore and they will now be hoping the new kit goes hand in hand with success on the field.

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