Sun. May 29th, 2022

When England’s cricketers take to the field this year they will be carrying sets made by a British company that is barely seven years old. That company, Castore – founded by two Liverpool brothers – bets that the sport could help it become a global brand.

Castore, which is styling itself as the “aspiration premium alternative” for the world’s largest sportswear brands, is expanding its expansion into elite sports by seeking partnerships with teams that are overlooked by global names such as Adidas, Nike and Puma.

The brand’s wings logo can be seen on football shirts in the English Premier League through agreements with teams such as Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers. It’s visible in Formula One racing, courtesy of a partnership with McLaren. The links give the brand a platform in two of the world’s most watched sports worldwide.

The partnership with Newcastle preceded the club’s £ 305mn take over in October by a Saudi-led consortium, giving Castore exposure in the Middle East.

The provision of the English Premier League team Newcastle United has given Castore a springboard to new markets

The acquisition of English Premier League team Newcastle United has given Castore a springboard to new markets © Getty

Castore says its sales for the year to end-January 2022 have exceeded £ 100 million for the first time, more than double the figure for the previous 12 months.

The company particularly benefited from the shift to online shopping during the pandemic. It usually operates online stores for its sports team partners.

Becky Langley Newcastle United

Becky Langley, Newcastle United © Will Matthews / Getty

Castore attracted new shareholders, in the form of Mohsin and Zuber Issa, the billionaire brothers from the North West of England behind the EG Group filling station chain and Asda supermarkets.

It also recently moved its headquarters from Liverpool to Manchester, taking advantage of digital retailers in the latter’s ecosystem, including Boohoo and The Hut Group.

£ 100 million

Sales in the year to end-January 2022 exceeded the figure for the first time

Castore sees opportunities in cricket as the game develops through television-friendly short-form competitions such as The Hundred in England and the Indian Premier League.

“Nike, Adidas and Puma do not compete [cricket] almost as fierce as in football, ”said Tom Beahon, co-founder of the company with his brother Phil, who played semi-professional cricket. “It leaves an opening for me.

“We think there is a great opportunity for Castore to become the global cricket brand and, realistically, it would not be feasible in football, for example simply because it is so competitive.”

Wicketkeeper and Castore partner Jos Buttler (left) runs from New Zealand's Martin Guptill to clinch England's 2019 Cricket World Cup victory

Wicketkeeper and Castore partner Jos Buttler (left) runs from New Zealand’s Martin Guptill to clinch England’s 2019 Cricket World Cup victory © AP

In addition to his agreement with the Home Rule Board, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), to provide kits to the English team, Castore has entered into a partnership with Kent’s men’s and women’s teams, as well as one with the English international team. Jos Buttler.

The retailer has further partnerships to provide kits to the South African and West Indies international sides.

Beahon believes cricket should try to emulate the culture of football, where it is much more common for fans to buy replica shirts from their favorite team.

Castore’s deal with the ECB begins because the latter has to address a racism scandal that rocked the sport last year, when former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq told parliament about the abuse he encountered in the county match.

Ruben Neves, Wolverhampton Wanderers

Ruben Neves, Wolverhampton Wanderers © Jack Thomas / Getty

The ECB has promised to review the culture of the game to remove the “rust” of racism.

“I think the sport is going to go through a period of significant change,” Beahon says. “Those racism issues and allegations that persist will be a catalyst for the sport to change; it’s right that it changes.

“We want to be part of sports categories that are going through changes, because [it] enables us to shape those changes. ”

He highlights The Hundred as an example of how the game can move forward.

“It’s going to appeal to a younger audience, it’s going to appeal to people from a more diverse background, which is very positive for the long term,” Beahon said.

While looking for new partnerships, he recognizes the need to make decisions that are good for business, and not influenced by the powerful emotions of sport.

“We are very focused on being disciplined and analytical in our decision-making,” he says. “However, I would be lying if I said you do not get very special feelings of emotion and passion, and honestly joy, when you look at how teams wear your logo. . . it is indescribable when you experience those moments. ”

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