Even in America, the idea of selling ad space on athletes' bodies is far from unprecedented. Race car drivers are more decorated than Cold War generals and ostentatiously switch their caps three or four times during an interview. The WNBA recently caved to the pressure of jersey sponsors, Major League baseball teams on tour in Japan have gone native regarding on-uniform ad-placement, and NFL football teams have already sewn ad patches onto their practice jerseys (which the defunct Arena League actually did during games).
Of course, overseas, the most prestigious soccer teams in Europe and Latin America are nothing more than sprinting, sweaty billboards for corporations such as Vodafone, Pirelli, or large companies hawking baked goods, cement, or even health care. (Major League Soccer carries on this "tradition"). Isn't it a bit naive of American fans to think that our drug-, money-, and sponsorship-soaked professional leagues are somehow purer than those elsewhere because we sell ads on every inch of the realm but the players' clothing?
On the other hand -- and this does carry some weight -- even the XFL did not sell adspace on uniforms. That would have been tacky.
So, it remains to be seen if the UFL's decision is historic or just a historical afterthought.Or, to put it in fan-friendly language: Are you ready for some football (ads)?