For months now we’ve heard rumours that British high-end sportswear brand Castore was poised to make its move into rugby, rumours that intensified when the Sydney Roosters became the first rugby league team to sign with the brand. But now a report seems to have confirmed that Saracens will become Castore’s first rugby union team, but only from the start of the 2021 season.
Castore has made big moves into sports sponsorship in recent years, with their long-term support of Andy Murray being followed with Rangers FC last year, and most recently a deal with Premier League club Wolves. SportCal is reporting that in addition to the Wolves deal, the Saracens deal is now also done and dusted.
“Castore has also agreed a UK£200,000 (US$263,000) a season, multi-year deal with Saracens – the brand’s first in rugby union,” a report on SportsPro claims. “Castore is set to replace current kit supplier Nike as the English rugby union club’s kit supplier for the start the 2021/22 second-tier Championship season.”
Now, obviously, we don’t expect that Saracens will be in the Championship in 2021/22 season, as they’re almost certain to get promoted back to the Premiership at first go (if they even go down given the current situation), but that knowledge gap aside the report seems to be very confident that Sarries will indeed become Castore’s first rugby union club.
It will bring to an end Sarries’ second spell with Nike, who came back to the club in 2018 after their relationship with BLK went south, but at least you can say the sportswear giant went out with a bang with their 2020/21 designs.
Saracens had reportedly turned down a deal with new England and Bristol sponsor Umbro before their recent fall from grace (word on the grapevine is that Bristol were approached after Sarries had turned Umbro down). It’s unknown if this was because of the Castore deal was already agreed or whether the club’s change in circumstances has caused them to look elsewhere.
It remains to be seen if Castore are just getting started in rugby or not, but they are clearly not short of cash – their deal with Rangers was reportedly worth up to £20m over five seasons, the Wolves deal is expected to be worth £1m a season to the club, while the brand are apparently also in talks with Newcastle United over a deal that would net them £5m a season.
It seems unlikely that they’re content with one rugby team in that regard then, and while most of the big test teams are locked up for at least the next four or five seasons, the club game is a different story – one name to watch out for is the Ospreys, who are coming towards the end of their Canterbury kit deal and have the large retail profile that makes them attractive to sponsors.
Watch this space…