Don’t be surprised if you notice a different sort of festive mood during Swansea City’s game against Burnley this weekend.
For the first time in the history of Premier League, a team will be donning jerseys with Chinese imagery to celebrate Chinese New Year 2018. The commemorative shirts will be worn by Swansea City players on Feb. 10 for their crucial Premier League fixture against Burnley at the Liberty Stadium.
Even though China, which has hundreds of millions of fans watching games every week, is a huge target audience for the Premier League, this is the first time a Premiere League team has designed special jerseys—in collaboration with shirt sponsor LeTou—in honor of the occasion.
Swansea Chief Operating Officer Chris Pearlman emphasized the importance of Asia “as a key market” not just for the team, but also for other Premier League clubs.
Meanwhile, LeTou CEO Paul Fox said: “I have experienced first-hand the passion of the fans in Asia and by working closely together, LeTou and Swansea are embracing Chinese culture to reach one of the fastest growing fanbases in the world.”
NBA has been designing playing jerseys with Chinese imagery and lettering for the past few years. This year, several NBA clubs are scheduled to host in-arena celebrations, including the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. The league will also telecast games in the China region from Feb. 2 to March 3, as part of NBA’s seventh consecutive holiday celebration.
For their own take of the 2018 celebrations, Swansea City players including England striker Tammy Abraham, Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches and South Korean international Ki Sung-yeung have taken part in Chinese cooking and language lessons.
“It’s been great fun learning about Chinese traditions and culture and I hope someday to get the opportunity to visit this fascinating country,” said Abraham.