Andy Murray joins athletes like Lebron James as a sporting entrepreneur

Andy Murray - Cromlix House Hotel (A five star hotel)

As Murray prepares to defend a Wimbledon title this year, he’s also throwing his passion into Cromlix House Hotel, a five star hotel near his home town of Dunblane. The Olympic gold medallist is putting his fame right at the centre of this start up, and it’s making him a lot of friends in the tourism industry.

Already well-known for his Scottish pride, Murray wants Cromlix House Hotel to give back to his home country. He believes tourism above the border “is everyone's business, even tennis players!”

Hopefully the British number one will be crying more tears of joy when his hotel takes off, and if you want to be at the second best place to watch this year’s Wimbledon final, get ready to book your tickets.

Who else?

Murray joins a long list of sports stars giving business a go. From the world’s greatest basketball player, to an endless list of footballers hanging on to glory, here are just a few of sport’s greatest entrepreneurs.

Lebron James – Too many to mention (Inc. TV shows and sportswear)

The King, as he likes to be known, is a lesson in how sports players can do the business side of things the right way. Lebron James is a megastar, but he’s always had his head on his shoulders when it comes to his money. It helps to have a genius business partner, Maverick Carter, looking out for you too.

The Miami Heat star has shunned the usual advertisement deals that would give him quick bucks for something better. Over the years, he’s built up a portfolio of businesses, relationships and brands because he owns part of whatever he is involved in. It’s smart, and it’s made him the most successful sportsman in the history of business.

One great example of all this is a new TV show, Survivor's Remorse. A former Nike intern dreamed up a plot, and James is turning it into a reality as an executive producer. No big industry names are in on it, so all the cash will be going straight to The King and everyone else involved. It turns out the world’s best basketball player is a great entrepreneur too.

Michael Owen – Sportslobster (Sports website)

When he finally gave up the pretence of still being a footballer, Michael Owen had to find some way to keep busy. Luckily for the entrepreneurs behind Sportslobster, he choose to do it by going into business with them and handing over a huge wad of cash to get involved with the sports marketers.

It may not have shown much entrepreneurial savvy, but it did use what Michael Owen has available, a great knowledge of football and a loving fan base of anyone who watched England try their best to win something between 1998 and 2008. The boy wonder regularly blogs for the website and brings in a huge audience for its content. Owen’s involvement with Sportslobster is an example of how to build up the audience you need to survive.

Maria Sharapova – Sugapova (Premium Candy Line)

Maria Sharapova

Murray isn’t the first tennis star to start thinking about business before putting down his racket, but he is doing it slightly differently to this one. Sharapova has built a great brand over her years desperately trying to break the Williams sister’s lock on women’s tennis, and now she’s trying to use that to build a business.

Whereas Murray went for a high class hotel, Sharapova is aiming at the high class sweet market. Sugarpova is an interesting example of how a brand can turn directly into a product. No one knows how successful this slightly odd venture will turn out to be, but it’s good to see she has her eye on life after tennis.

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