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Premier League Football Team Crystal Palace Hires Creative Director

The London-based team hired sports marketing veteran Kenny Annan-Jonathan to oversee its apparel line and partnerships with brands.
London-based Crystal Palace, which finished 11th in the Premier League last season, tapped sports marketing veteran Kenny Annan-Jonathan for the new role of "creative lead" to oversee apparel collections and fashion partnerships.
London-based Crystal Palace, which finished 11th in the Premier League last season, tapped sports marketing veteran Kenny Annan-Jonathan for the new role of "creative lead" to oversee apparel collections and fashion partnerships. (Getty Images)

English football team Crystal Palace has become the first club in the Premier League, the world’s most-watched football competition, to hire a creative lead to oversee apparel collections and fashion partnerships.

The London-based team, which finished 11th in the Premier League last season, tapped sports marketing veteran Kenny Annan-Jonathan for the new role. His first project in the creative director-style role will be to launch an autumn/winter apparel collection for the upcoming 2023-2024 season, he told BoF.

Through his agency, The Mailroom, Kenny Annan-Jonathan has brokered commercial partnerships for athletes like former Crystal Palace captain Wilfried Zaha and fellow Premier League footballer Michael Antonio.
Through his agency, The Mailroom, Kenny Annan-Jonathan has brokered commercial partnerships for athletes like former Crystal Palace player Wilfried Zaha and fellow Premier League footballer Michail Antonio. (Henry J Kamara)

Annan-Jonathan plans to create products that go beyond typical sports team merch and grow the team’s fan base, he added.

Through his agency, The Mailroom, Annan-Jonathan has brokered commercial partnerships for athletes like former Crystal Palace captain Wilfried Zaha and fellow Premier League footballer Michail Antonio, and has worked on projects with brands including Nike, Adidas, Puma, and LA streetwear favourite 424.

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Sports organisations are increasingly exploring how they can maximise lucrative merch sales through fashion collaborations, tapping into teams’ global audiences.

Annan-Jonathan’s hire by Crystal Palace follows similar moves by smaller teams like Parisian football club Red Star, which has reached a global audience through its innovative collaborations and jersey designs under creative director and former Manchester United footballer David Bellion.

In April, cult LA streetwear designer Guillermo Andrade was hired as “creative advisor” to make capsule collections for the Leagues’ Cup, a month-long tournament among all 47 teams from Major League Soccer and Mexico’s top football division, Liga MX.

“The average fan, and how they express their love for sports has evolved, and it’s time that the sporting world evolves with them,” Annan-Jonathan said.

Learn more:

Do Sports Leagues Need ‘Creative Directors’?

Major League Soccer tapped streetwear designer Guillermo Andrade to be its creative advisor, hoping his cultural cachet will make the sport more popular in the US.

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