Boxing fanatics may remember the 90's when boxers would have temporary graphics painted on their body (often Golden Palace). The trend didn't last, but fast forward a bit...the world's most popular sport, soccer, utilizes jerseys that resemble advertisements that are plastered all over NASCAR's automobiles.
Is it only a matter of time before all professional athletic jerseys implement some form of advertising? It hasn't bothered Europeans and basketball has become a global phenomenon, with similar jersey styles as a soccer jersey. Could you see Lebron James wearing a Heat jersey that had a McDonald's logo on it (and McDonald's already hosts an All-American game that sports their logo on the jersey)? I could, and I think that the advertising could be done subtly enough that it wouldn't invoke the hatred of fans. Think of the possibilities... consumers who want authentic apparel would also have the advertiser's logo on their jersey otherwise it wouldn't be identical to what the player wore. These fans would wear their jerseys, becoming human billboards for that product. Don't forget about exclusive jersey advertising rights (after all, companies pay a fortune for naming rights to the venues and not too many people stare at the exterior; they watch the star players). Not only do I think this is inevitable, but I think the U.S. should spearhead this movement. Someday, you may just see the Mad Men Marketing logo on the back of a ballcap being worn by a Jaguars or Jacksonville Suns player.